Just Perfect


abby_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Just Perfect
Synopsis Just Perfect can refer to a great many things. Just perfect, Abby's vehicle is in dire need of a good cleaning. Just perfect - that's what walter looks like when en route to Jersey, he decides to come hours earlier than predicted.
Date November 8, 2010

On the road again.

You're having my baaaaaybee!

It's been a rather long, nervous night for Delilah Trafford. Having gotten to Abby's house safely with her Sunday evening, she spent most of the waning hours in a sort of nesting state; not eating much, trying to relax herself and de-stress, doing her best to not exacerbate anything into something new and unexpected.

If there is one thing she won't miss, it is trying to move around when there is a large object right in front of her at all times. You get used to it, surely, but with is far more bothersome than without. Relaxing had primarily consisted of a warm bath and coddling herself in her nightgown and a robe, though the return of Mister Caliban to the premises did absolutely nothing to help her do what she was trying to do. It is one thing to do such things to your lover, but to just wander back in when the week is at a head? Robert, quite honestly, pisses her off, and his return to Abby’s life put undue stress on top of what the expectant mother was already feeling.

She fell asleep nervous and knotted up, though slept soundly throughout the night as it went on. In the morning, she allowed herself a few reflective minutes before joining Abby in getting the final preparations ready. So far, nothing has happened outside of this little world; being it is only the start of the morning, however, the outside status is due to change at any moment. Dee has been trying to not worry about it too much on top of other things, and concentrate only on making it through Monday night with herself, her partners in crime, and her newborn son.

Delilah has been able to feel the increasing pressure from the inside and out- partly physical, partly metaphorical. Almost like the ball at New Years, right? After a few attempts at finishing whatever prep is left, Dee finally sat herself down in the living room (with the gallant canine Rhett, of course) for the interim, waiting for her chaperones to call her out of a light nap. It seems to be light because every so often she winces awake, grits her teeth, and tries to sit back again. It is a foreboding situation, though hopefully not quite dire yet. The dog that looks like he is babysitting her can tell what’s going on, and having him licking her hand all the time isn’t exactly helping either. Not when she needs to zone out.

For all the stress that Caliban brings to Delilah’s life at this morning, it’s done the opposite for Abby. She’s run a normal temperature instead of warm and has been more at ease even though sleep still was elusive for the young woman. She spread her time between Delilah and Caliban, making dinner for all and making sure both her husband and her employee/friend were comfortable. There’s a conversation coming between the two of them, her and Robert. But it didn’t happen that night.

Morning rolled around though and into the enclosed kitchen she’d disappeared to make sure everyone had food, Caliban in his office after a discussion with Abigail about going with them. Caliban and Teo in the same Vehicle was not something that she felt comfortable about. He wasn’t coming, she would call every two minutes and let him know whether she was okay or needed him.

Abby didn’t anticipate needing him. Yoga pants, layered tank tops and charcoal sweater, she’s making coffee and breakfast for Robert, make sure he’s got all that he needs, waiting for the Sicilian to show and that Delilah’s feeling about as fine as someone on her supposed due date is supposed to feel. “We’ll go soon as Teodoro’s here. I’ll put your bag by the door so that all we have to do is grab it and go and soon enough you’ll be at a hospital and there will be epidurals and drugs and a baby in your arms by what… it was a little before six right?” She doesn’t know yet that Delilah’s already feel contractions.

Delilah wouldn’t have been comfortable about it either, though for her own reasons. She stays sitting with Rhett, fingers trying to wriggle away from his licking them. Dogs. Between him, the pains, and the fact Caliban is an asshole, Dee’s morning is becoming increasingly ill-tempered. Consternation is the order of her current mood, and it won’t be going anywhere soon.

“Yeah.” Delilah answers, tiredly, from her nesting self on the sofa. “Um. Abby, is it supposed to be this uncomfortable this early? I mean- of course it’s going to be- but I don’t remember anything about a long labor from June…” She is trying to find a way to sit that isn’t either terrible or just plain awkward on her, and it’s not working out so well. “And get this dodgamned dog away from me, please.” In her friend’s place, the least she can do is censor herself!

“Define… uncomfortable?” That has her attention, coming out of the kitchen fully wiping her hands on a dishtowel and peering at the pregnant woman beached on her couch. She snaps her fingers and Rhett reluctantly gets to his feet. She guides her dog away from Delilah, towards Caliban’s home office and opens the door to let him in,a murmur with the reason why before she closes the door again and heads back into the kitchen.

“How uncomfortable Dee? Like, is it tight around your belly? Or are we talking tight in your back. I talked to one of my old co-workers and she told me what she went through” The teatowel is draped across the back of a dining room chair with a glance to her wrist watch. “Is it… is it regular uncomfortable like, looking at a clock and going hey, gee, look, it’s been five minutes again since I felt like that…”

Rap-rap-rap. Rough knuckles to the door, and then the round glass peephole is blotted out by the shape of somebody's eye pressed up trying to see through the wrong way. They both know who that is even before his tenor rings through: "Hello? It's Teo. I'm at the right— I can hear your voice in there, Li. And Abigail. You both are really loud, actually. Did you know th—"

Someone's a little nervous. Just a little.

"I forgot the macaque I was going to bring. He was hypo-allergenic and had actual fuckin' irises on his bead-eyes." Teo sounds somewhat disproportionately unhappy about that, probably, given the fact that generally newborn infants aren't left to entertain themselves with soft toys that they don't have the neurological capacity to even see. "But— I'm here. The car is here. Everything's ready. I don't know why I'm talking to the door," he admits a little querulously.

“Uh- ah-” Delilah’s answer to Abby is clearly mixed. “I dunno, twelve minutes, ten? Maybe eight? It’s not like I’m counting bloody seconds. It's down in my back, first. I think something's not right about this." Woman's intuition, maybe- or just being expecting of what was to come. They got worse in the last hour or so, since I've been awake." Delilah gives up trying to find a better seat, sinking back with an exasperated sigh, one hand on the armrest and the other on her stomach. The knock comes, and she practically sits upright- she would, if she hadn’t been trying not to. Relief, even while she tries to push herself up out of her seat. Abby! Help her up!

Mostly relief, and then Teo is saying something about stuffed animals, and Lilah has a hard time deciding if she wants to chuckle or make a disgruntled face. Somehow, they fuse together, and she ends up just looking a little bit crazy instead. L’rd.

“I have every right to be loud.” Delilah, as point, says this just a smidge louder than before, volume going back down again. “Can we go? Please?” She’s begging a little now, there must be good reason.

Caliban has managed to make Abigail do what Teo and Alexander could never. Lock the door when she’s home. The scowl sent to the door when Teo’s knocking and complaining loudly earns a roll of the eyes as she’s sure in his office adjacent to the first offshoot hall, Caliban can hear the Sicilian. “Hold your horses, you’re baby momma’s getting off the couch. She’s in labour” Newsflash, she gives Delilah a pointed look for not having said anything sooner. “Seems like you’ll be like this for a bit Dee” As she helps the woman up and directs her to the door so that when Abby’s gets there to unlock it she can launch herself into the arms of her baby daddy.

Abigail’s going to go slip into some pull on sneakers, grab the coats and the bags that are filled with what Delilah will need. “Taking my SUV Teo and not whatever clunker you borrowed or Francois’s vehicle. In case water breaks along the way. I don’t want to explain to Francois when Hiro returns him about what that distress splotch on his leather seats is” To that end, She’s got towels to spread on her own seats.

Which means that by the time Abby gets to the door, Delilah should be just about there. “Robert” She calls out. “We’re heading out, I’ll call you when we hit the hospital!” Keeping him in the loop. “Love you!” And the door is open. Delilah and Abby on the other side, Abby smiling. “Morning Teo. I have the right Teo right? This isn’t Ghost right, I mean, this is the one that actually impregnated Dee right?” There are three of them afterall.

The color that floods Teodoro's features could mean anything, more a response to Abigail's question than any particular orientation around his reply. "Yes," he says a little crossly, perhaps a token of that good old-fashioned Catholic boy's guilt. "Li." His eyes are past Abigail's head in a moment and he gets up on his toes, starts to navigate around the Southern girl with a touch of his younger self's characteristic caution, as if he might accidentally lose track of an elbow or a knee, hurt her if he wasn't overtly wary about avoiding it.

"Can you get the SUV door?" That's for Abigail, cast backward over his shoulder, barely a look. He has to concentrate, see, on the matter at hand, given he doesn't generally trust them all that much. He turns around so quickly he probably popped his neck, and now he is opening his arms, stooping to scoop Delilah up without asking for permission but carefully, as much with her feet as her arms and her head and the great round pot of baby inside her dress. It's a lot to keep track of, but he tries, and there's enough strength in his arms for the two of them.

Meaning his fingers do struggle a little grabbing at the slack folds of her robe, but he doesn't trip on them at any rate. "Labor is okay, right? That can take like twelve fucking hours. My mom's took four, but even four is okay. Isn't it? We can work with four. Abby once told me," and then he stops, shakes his ragged head. Wrong Abigail. Wrong world, but he finds himself wishing he remembered more of that one anyway: he hadn't been there when Walter arrived, and given the fact she's in labor (which is okay) (right?) there's a clock ticking downward (right?) and any precent would be better than none.

"Don't look at me like that, Abby, it's not like I've done this before…" If Delilah could find the time, she would probably give Abby a bit of a punch for that last comment. Teo is Teo, that much is important. That said, what gets out is a short noise that is the bastard child of a groan and a whine, punctuating her words for the sake of her labor pains and her glint of frustration. It is muffled short when she is able to get an armful of Teodoro when he comes to help her, her face momentarily in the front of his shoulder. Pot of baby is probably a very fitting comparison.

“It better not take twelve hours.” Delilah growls this, holding onto Teo as much as she needs to be. A clock somewhere winces in terror. “It’s okay until things start getting longer and closer together, and I really hope I don’t make a mess of your car, Abby.” Because importance tends to get a little warped when everything else is.

"Language. Your baby doesn't need to hear you blathering off your mouth and swearing as his first sounds Teodoro Laudani. But yes, Labors not usually so quick as what your Momma went through. They say it's usually notoriously long. Might not even be real labor, could be the uhh, the Braxton Hicks" False labor. Feels like real labor to the point that some people can't tell the difference.

And Delilah? It is the bastard child of a groan and whine. Abby can attest to the various vocal stylings and musings of the Sicilian who has taken to picking up the Englishwoman. "It'll take what it what the good lord dictates that it shall take. We know he was born at around six, so you're good Dee. We'll get you to Jersey, to a hospital and you'll be on an epidural and you'll as happy as a cat licking cream off it's whiskers. I promise"

Teo's got his woman, and Abby's taking the stairs - This is the second floor - and they're off, her SUV parked out front, having spent the precious day hunting that specific spot in preparation for the day. Nothing was going to stop them from getting off this island and to the hospital. Not a single damned thing. "You won't make a mess Dee. That's why I got towels" And she's gone, loaded down like a mule, gesturing to the elevator for Teo to take her while she just flies down the stairs. Presumably to get stuff ready in the car for Delilah and the back seat.

Gratifyingly, his armful of Briton stays even after she peels back and recoils from her faceful of shoulder. With awkward caution and the precision of care, Teodoro maneuvers his hand below his babymomma's legs, splays a long finger to jab at the elevator buttons. They light up, and he can hear the grumble of mechanical parts in the shaft, but he does not think they are grumbling fast enough. He just stepped out of that Goddamn thing four seconds ago— where did it go? Perhaps predictably, there is an irritable taktaktaktak when he mashes the button another half-dozen times, before the doors finally open up with obliging chirp-ting! and he sidles in crabwise, hits the lobby button.

He recognizes the hair-raising efficiency with which Abigail is whirlwinding about, today. He knows that she would have staked out the ideal spot. Slit throats, falsified parking tickets. Okay, maybe not quite, but anything up to and including making large eyes and explaining with her charismatic Weezyanan twang, that her friend's pregnant and delivering today. What kind of asshole wouldn't move?

Teo gets most of his swearing out of the way inside the elevator.

By the time they clatter out into view, Abigail is bursting out of the stairwell with bag swinging from her hand and her long legs taking her ahead of them. Teodoro fights down the impulse to run as well, measuring rapid strides instead toward the plate-glass doors. Instantly recognizing these universal signs of emergency (Abigail Beauchamp-Caliban, running indoors; pregnant lady carried out in haste; disproportionately large and over-stuffed lady-bag) the security guard goes to help hold the door open ahead of the Sicilian. "You can squeeze my thumb," he informs Delilah, harriedly.

Delilah really is impartial to language of a foul nature, though of course she may be increasingly cautious as Walter gets older and hits that stage. Her fists keep a firm hold around Teodoro, fistfuls of coat and cloth while she does her personal best to not wriggle or somehow make this at all difficult for him. The pause that is the elevator ride down gives Lilah a few seconds to try and regain whatever composure that she can.

They are sucked into warp drive right away when they get off the elevator, Delilah clutching onto her noble steed and the security guard looking unabashed when he hurries to help them outside. Squeeze his thumb? What is this?

"Imma squeeze whatever I can grab if you're not careful." Dee laughs, pained, her voice in his ear. "Thanks!" She offers over Teo's shoulder when they pass the guard, onward to the SUV parked out front. Time to load up and head out, right? Be careful sliding her in there! This is a delicate situation. And Teo would like to keep all of his fingers.

Just Abigail Caliban. SUV unlocking with a beep beep, followed by start of the engine all without her even behind the wheel. Some things, when you live in a cold environment, is just necessary. Another button, pops the door to the rear of the vehicle so she can stuff in the bags and close it with a thump all to arrive at the passenger side rear door and open it for Teo and Delilah to get in.

"You're in the back, with her. You're not up front. She needs you back here, and Walter needs you. I got GPS to tell me where I'm going" Abigail in charge. Sometimes a scary thing, she's determined today that everything will go well and fine for her friends and the birth of Walter though on an auspicious and not so good day, will be smooth and painless and worry free and the most serene and calm birth possible in the safety of the mother fucking hospital and not in the back of an ambulance or some store front.

Even if she has to flame up and make it so.

Okay, maybe she won't flame up, but six in the evening is a long time away and it's just a little close to nine, everything is just running perfectly as she scoots around the vehicle to get into the drivers seat. Perfectly.

Six? Was it six? Teo remembers it was an even number but maybe it was four and they are remembering wrong. By the time he gets into the back seat he kind of has no idea how he got there, and he is orienting Delilah carefully over towels, fiddling with seatbelts, making sure they aren't going to squeeze Walter, or squeeze Walter into her. The seat is already reclined, naturally, a densely-cushioned throne shifted back to an ergonomically friendly configuration.

The ergonomically perfect configuration, is probably the correct phrase. Perfect is the word of the day. The SUV's door is dragged shut, and in what is regarded by airlines everywhere as a bad move, Teo attends to his own safety precautions last. Seatbelt click. "I sent other-me to go get the monkey," he informs no one in particular, or maybe he is actually talking to Walter: he's peering down at Delilah's belly like it's listening to him, at any rate. "The monkey's coming." The GPS speaks to Abigail in a womanly supercilious voice, and Teo's arm quivers briefly, restrained from the urge to slap it.

"No squeezing," he adds to Delilah, belatedly, pale eyes cutting up at her. Misheard, misunderstood. Distracted rather completely. He holds her hand, though, presses thumb into the smooth hollow of the Englishwoman's hand.

“Okay, okay.” No squeezing. Delilah doesn’t specify what it is that she won’t be squeezing- maybe Sasha knows- but when she feels his hand there, she accepts his offer of thumb and fingers and squeezes into the grip only as much as she needs to. Right now, it is not as much as it will become sooner, rather than later. Being shuffled into the seat and buckled down as much as someone with her obstruction can be was interesting, at the least; Teo is not as used to navigating the globe, in a fit of metaphorical irony. She knows he is distracted, that he is in a state where everything is probably getting jumbled together. Maybe it is best if she doesn’t speak to him directly, as Abby seems to have everything under control. For now, of course.

“I hate that GPS’ voice, I want to slap it.” If Dee can’t growl and ache at Teo or Abby, the next best thing is the only other vaguely human presence, even if digital. “Ffff-” The redhead in the back seat grits her teeth a moment and lets out a hiss of air.

“You can hate it all you like, but it’s gonna get us to jersey with the least obstructed route and let me know of any traffic jams so we can avoid those” Abby points out, being kind enough to at least turn down the voice with a press of a few buttons. When everyone is in though, she’s easing out of the parking spot, heading officially, out to take Delilah and Teo to meet their destiny in the form of a squalling infant slated to arrive this day. She concentrates on the road, it’s Teo’s job to concentrate on Delilah. There will be no stops for Starbucks or anything. Beeline, straight to the hospital.

Okay, stops for red lights and yellow lights. There will be no tempting fate and no going over the speed limit. If she could get a police escort, she would have. She hadn’t been able to. Oh how her credit has fallen with the NYPD.

Regular little carload of mutants, Walter included, representative of the United States' worst political nightmares and one of the most punished demographics the world over!! and for once, Teodoro couldn't care less. The soapbox has been stowed, his terrorist gear reduced to a pistol (two), all thought to heroism cast aside in favor of the grating absence of the macaque, no concern in his (jumbled) head too great to fit inside this SUV. "I feel," he starts to say, then clears his throat. Banishes pessimistic thoughts out of his head, summarily.

I feel we should have had a backup plan was what he was going to say, otherwise. His forefinger traces a coarse ribbon of warmth over Delilah's grip then he closes his other palm over her hand, hunkers his shoulders down. Looks like the quintessential Teo for a moment there, staring out of the windows with the baleful protectiveness of a dog like he is going to try and killing the traffic lights and other minor obstructions 'round here with his eyes. "What's the ETA?"

“ETA?” Delilah laughs, weakly, watching the outside world on the other side of the car windows begin to roll by at a now regular pace. “I suppose this is a mission, isn’t it? We’re a bunch of regular soldiers of fortune, right?” Right! Never doubt it. They told her before now, that whoever is with her when the time comes may experience some more worldly dissonance, and it sounds like Teo has it, even if Abby doesn’t.

“If we run a light or two, what’s the chance we’ll get by with a warning and someone to escort us?” Delilah thinks along the same lines when it comes to a time like the current, maybe it’s going around. “Just don’t crash into anything if you do, eh?” Could Abby run a couple lights? Sure. Would she? A girl can dream.

Keep dreaming. "I love you Delilah, but I'm not running lights." As if to emphasize that, she stops for a red.

"Running a red and getting a warning is what Teodoro would get if he's driving or even you. Me? I'm on Bail Dee and need to keep my nose clean. They'll take one look at me and arrest me and then give you an escort to the hospital. I'm already facing time in jail for registration shenanigans, I'm not gonna spend more time in jail because a cop pulled me over for running a red."

She looks in the rear-view mirror, pressing another button to get an ETA of too much time to get to the hospital. "Nor chance you getting hurt by the car turning topsy turvy and Teodoro breaking his fool neck" She remembers what she saw in the vision. Overturned ambulance, dead vegan. "So I'm sorry Dee and you can curse me out every contraction, but.." The light turns green and she goes again.

But they're stuck with Abby driving. Because Abby doesn't trust Teodoro to drive while his girl’s in pain and labor.

Probably wise. Teodoro no doubt downloaded some kick-ass stunt-driving skills from the future, but the last thing Delilah needs to be concerned with is how to keep her balance and her upchuck in control while trying to be the Frank Potente to Teo's Bourne. His thumb wiggles once and then goes still.

He isn't talking about his vision, either. He wonders if Delilah knows what it was. Any number of explanations for that shit, naturally. Already, he's wondering obscurely if he shouldn't have resisted the urge to hold the Head of Hospital up at gunpoint if they didn't let Delilah in a day earlier. Of course, it had been perfectly practical and entirely enforced by law, refusing to admit people before the injuries and complications they had foreseen in their visions, but as indicated by Abigail's understanding of his driving habits, Teodoro tends to play it fast and loose with practicality and law-enforcement when HIS BABYMOMMA is making sad noises because her labor came early.

And Garmin is exquisitely irritating.

Jesus, her labor came early. "Wh— wait wait," his head snaps around again so fast it's probably surprising his fool neck didn't go on with it, and he stares at Delilah, reaches up to daub at her cheek with the corner of a Coffee Bean napkin. "Wait wait," mission! Why did she say mission? Clearly Delilah is confused. Is that normal? The books didn't say anything about that specifically, though one would imagine, with pain and everything. "When did the contractions start?"

Delilah can handle the response from Abby well enough, but that doesn’t mean she won’t make grumbles and aching noises to fill the car with a mix of frustration and premature labor pains. Well- not premature- just not when she was expecting them. Same day, though. Close enough, says fetus!Walter. Ready or not, here I come!

“I was feeling them yesterday a little, hours apart. That’s what it was supposed to be like. But this morning they kind of just-” Delilah finds the space to talk, her eyebrows knitted at Teo and her mouth in a partial frown. She doesn’t finish the thought, it is explained best when she clenches her teeth and rolls her head back with a moan, like some sort of undead creature. “It was fine and then it wasn’t, what more of an explanation is there? Shit fuckin’happens, damnit-” The kind of shit where her labor starts up and fires into high speed a few hours before it was supposed to.

Abby’s driving skills, aside from her unwillingness to plow through lights or do any epic tirework, is exceptional. It is no wonder that she fit right into an ambulance. Though there is traffic as any day in New York might have traffic, getting out of the city is proving just a little easier when you get to use the carpool lanes to righteous efficiency. They are sporadic, of course, though does that matter when it shaves a minute? Delilah’s contractions get longer as they drive, a little stronger, closer together. It is a series well into the five minute marks when this- journey, mission, drive to hell Jersey takes an interesting turn. Dee has been nothing but making what noise she can into a mouthful of the collar of her robe, but all of a sudden she gets extremely quiet. Not for terribly long.

“Oh shit, shit, shit-” Hey look, did someone spill a bottle of wa- no sir. Only one source of water in this backseat, and the damp is over the bottom of her nightgown, and seeping into the towels that Abby so diligently plied into her car.

"When they started is not a concern right now Teodoro Laudani" Abigail snaps a little, more to knock him out of his mild Teodoro panic. "It's how long they're lasting right now and how far apart. Delilah, do your breathing. Stay calm. It's if he water breaks and the contractions are close together that you gotta worry."

For all that emotions wreak havoc with her ability, setting it off, there's something to be said for Abby that Delilah recognized. That when driving an ambulance, in the middle of a call and much like she was when healing people in the middle of gunfire and whatever else the not so good elements would try to toss at her, she finds her little center of calm and zen. "Massage the sides of her belly Teo, gentle circular motions, that'll help. It's not like you can reach her back, but it'll help. Rub her shoulders" Abby was on call for two births during her oh so short stint at St. Lukes. She never actually delivered, just assisted.

Now if only Delilah could find that place, but it's a rare woman, tends to be those who take to the church of Scientology or are perhaps just freaks of nature.

Speaking of nature. It's soaking into the towels Abby had the forethought to lay across her back seat and her eyes dart to the rearview mirror then snaps to over her shoulder with eyes wide. "Oh fuck"

No. No, this is not… "Shut your legs!" She nearly bellows, snapping her head back to the street, looking for a safe place to stop that won't get them run over or rammed into. "Shut your legs Delilah like you should have done in Italy because you are not having this kid here. We are not near Jersey"

But even she knows how much of a lie those words are. "Teo, Teo, get your seatbelt off, get hers off and you grab the bag behind you that says EMT Now" There's a safe spot. pulling into a small parking lot to some abandoned building. brakes applied with no small amount of gentleness, SUV thrown into park and warning lights hit.

Mild Teodoro panic is escalating. The fuck is happening? Th—

If looks could kill, their problem would be compounded by there being not only a congested street of busybody New Yorkers but a congested street of slow-dying busybody New Yorkers. Teo snatches his hands off Delilah's shoulders where he'd been administering the requested massage, and almost rebounds off his seatbelt when they stop. Fear isn't an unusual visitor to his psyche, but so rarely is he so entirely out of his element. Missions fraught with firearm attacks, football riots, secret government laboratories undergoing literal nuclear meltdown, Arthur Petrelli, voyaging across the sea in a slender sailboat— all those things he can do.

Assisting Walter's birth, though. That's the opposite of everything he can do. "Fuck," he says under his breath. "Fuck, fuck. Fuck fuck fuckfuckfucketyfuck." The bag is out in his hands, the zip already towing down the top. "No fucking chastity lectures fucking thanks, Abs. Fuck" More towels. Did Abigail buy out every towel retailer in the state? Bottle of something. More bottles of things. Oh, this is a cute little flashlight, and there's even a ruler. Teo winds forward an arm across Delilah, yanks on the door's handle, shoves so hard it's a minor miracle his hand doesn't shatter the glass. Pops the door open to greet Abigail's rush to meet them.

"Here." He thrusts the bag at her, and then his palms are back on the sides of Delilah's belly, making small, fretful circles.

When Abby swears, shit is going down. One of the few people Dee knows that can restrain themselves. She doesn't have time to yell back when Abby starts getting more personal, either. She can note to herself to pinch the girl later, but right now she is experiencing the singular most painful thing she has come in contact with. More than anything she's ever been victim of during her two-plus years in the nitty-gritty of the New York evolved, more than she may want to experience a second time anytime soon. When Abby pulls the car to a halt, Delilah lets out a small squeal of surprise amidst her huffing and puffing. Whoa! Be careful! The warning lights are a nice touch, though.

Even if this is the one thing that the jack-of-all-Sicilian trades cannot do, he is faced with needing to. She can see Teo moving out of the corners of her vision, but frankly, it is already swimming and the world of the backseat is already so muffled and chaotic, that she doesn’t care about towels, bottles, bags, parking lots, Abby’s charging forward, Teo’s panic- even when the doors open around her and he is there, trying to massage a nominal amount of stress away, Delilah is more concentrated on the part where her son is coming now. She has to let the two of them help her along, as there isn’t much she can do besides keep herself from writhing right out onto the asphalt or otherwise just flailing and letting gravity do most of the work. Or maybe she should. But, it is Abby’s car, maybe not such a good idea.

Lilah believes in God, to a certain point- that he put the universe into motion, heralded the BANG! that began it, gave it chance to mold, form, and grow of its own accord, seeing where destiny took it- but it is a rare time that Delilah finds the time to say anything remotely resembling a prayer to him, or her, or it, however God likes to be called. Right now, however, strikes her as an opportunity to offer her mental scroll in a silent, hopeful gesture.

Keep us well. Please.

The bag is grabbed when Teo thrusts it at her, one of those towels draped over the window to ward off any peekers who may think to wander over and see what's going on. With luck, it'll just be water broke and Delilah's just getting her groove on with contractions. That's all! They'll be heading to Jersey in now time! "Get her on her side or on her back, I need to check"

What she needs to check, it's up to Teo's imagination as Abigail's dousing her hands in rubbing alcohol before working some of those blue gloves that she's pulled from their holder that proudly proclaims there's fifty pairs inside. But thank god that Delilah's already doing that for her and she busies herself at the business end of the Englishwoman, allowing Teo to work at calming down his babymomma.

And the look of shock on Abby's face says it all when she actually does manage to do what she needed to do with a very profuse apology to Delilah for doing it. "Dear Lord on High, Teo, we're not making a hospital, I can feel the head, like.. like I can feel the head."

A glance behind her to see if there's anyone who's getting a show, She's reaching behind the seat that Delilah reclines on, lifting up a foot to stand on the edge of the doorway and shove bags back towards the rear door and pop the necessary buttons and levers to force the back seats to recline flat.

"Hey Dee, Teo's gonna move you back, I don't want your rear hanging to the wind okay? You know how it was in the store? Well… Walters being born in my car. Don't worry, I won't charge you for the seats" Trying to bring humor to a serious situation. "Teo, more towels, move her back" She's forcing the front seat of the passenger side as far ahead as she can to give room and starts digging out everything that she needs. "Keep an eye on her, keep her calm"


Fuckety-fuck fuck fuckfuckfuck fuck fuck. It is the first time in a long time that Teodoro had enough adrenaline percolating in his head that he doesn't think about Francois at all, and that's no skin off the nose of the absent Frenchman. The seats are going back with a noise that makes him wonder if their steel and plastic bones are breaking, and he only cares about that because if they drop Delilah he is going to beat them up with his bare hands.

Towels go: everywhere. Or under her head and her hips, mostly. He is impressed at how many Abigail had managed to fit into that bag, really, probably a mixture of good design and Mrs. Beauchamp's training. He wraps an arm around Delilah's waist, his bicep a strangely solid bulk against her arm, fingers cool on her cheek, steers her gently to lay down on the cushioned seat. Tugs her rounded body along to make room for her legs to stretch out, as much as there's room, anyway. Tugs his limb out again, and tries not to crowd the woman's head even as he pulls wet ginger locks off her brow.

He remembers to respond, rather belatedly. "Okay." Sure. Walter's being born in her car. He got more towels and moved her back. In past-tense. Maybe it's better than the converse, that even in the throes of clubfooted boy-panic, Teodoro is more of a do-er than he is interested in talking about it.

Abigail is now a midwife, and from caregiver to patient, Delilah can understand the need for her to be poking around down there. They'll be much closer friends after this, surely.

"Oh my god, no, no way." Delilah bellows, choking on the last bit of words while trying to cooperate with her two companions and be relocated into the now wide trunkspace. She lets out a sudden and jarring scream, one hand latching onto whatever she can grab- in this case, it's poor Teodoro. At least it is only his clothes she is twisting up in her fist. Thumb be damned, Delilah needs to fight with something! The sweat on her brow and in her hair says she is more than allowed. Teo is a valiant co-conspirator when it comes to helping Delilah and doing what Abby says, despite the redhead's hands-on menace.

Only when he is above her face pushing her hair out of the way does Lilah seem to realize he's been either holding on for dear life or doggedly obeying instructions. In between her yelling, her brows knit and she looks up at Teo like he suddenly appeared out of thin air- bewildered, maybe. Or maybe this is just her brain telling her to focus on something else. It lasts about a second, before Delilah is doing a half sit-up and filling the car with another shrill noise, her breath leaving in a heave of its own accord.

“Would you stop pushing!” Abby yells back at Delilah, giving in to the stress, just a fraction. Oh, oh no, no. It’s not supposed to go this god damned fast. Not so fast after the water breaks. Her books state this, and that first births are notorious for being long and…

Delilah had been in labor since the day before. “You listen to me you Englishwoman. You will not push, until I say you can push. That means you breath through it and you try to relax. I am not gonna catch Walter like a football, do you understand me? I’m an EMT Delilah, I’m not a doctor or a midwife or even a paramedic and what the Ferry taught me, was not how to deliver a baby. Teo. make her breath and don’t bear down yet”

And she’s getting everything she needs, digging through the bag, putting stuff to the side, moving fast as she can, sweat beading on her forehead that has everything to do with the situation and nothing to do with her ability. When that’s all done, then it’s one foot against the drivers seat, and other against the passenger, mumbling out what she’s supposed to do if someone pops a fucking child out in her ambulance.

“Okay Dee, now you can push” Giving the woman permission, hands disappearing beneath the nightgown and back out of the view of Sicily. “Get behind her, support her Teo, Help her” There's idle wish that Francois had been here. He’d know how to do this easy peasy.

Wonderfully, there's a fat chunk of Teo's faith in Abigail confusedly pinned to the basis of his experiences with her in a future that will now never come to pass. Nurse Beauchamp and her salmon-colored scrubs, or the ones with little bears on them. She had two kids. She had this done to her twice, and he isn't exactly all here. Following instructions to the letter, at least until Delilah stops to look at him for a moment.

He blinks his eyes. Sees her, for the first time in awhile, and there's a little less noise in his head. The people on the street can think what they want. The kiss he presses to her forehead is as dry as her brow is wet, and his chest bears up under her shoulder, collarbone bumping briefly into the edge of her scapula before he squirms to fit better. His knee goes up at her rib, the other one kicking and dragging an ungainly twist across the towels. He has to work off his shoe using the moulded plastic of the wall because he can't reach without pushing Delilah forward onto her belly and that is the worst thing he could be doing, isn't it?

Teodoro isn't the best pillow ever, but he's what she has. When he peers into her face again, his face looks fraught, pale as a parched fishbelly except for the accents of color high on his cheekbones. "Push," he repeats. His thumb furrows gently into the hollow of Delilah's palm, and his other fingers are coming around to a firm wrap. He doesn't smell like cigarettes— probably for the baby's sake, only soap, sweat, spearmint. "Push, Li. He's coming."

Delilah’s eyes are squeezed tight, but she is able to feel the warm press of lips to her head, and the chair that Teodoro is trying to form just behind her. His own breathing isn’t exactly the most calm of things, and even through the back of her robe she swears that the thrumming is his heartbeat and neither the car nor a sound from the outside. When she opens her eyes again, he’s still there, doing his best.

“I can’t help it, Abby, this shit has a mind of it’s own-” Delilah puffs, trying to catch her breath and even it out. Maybe it does have a mind of its own, or maybe Delilah is just not as good at this as she ought to be. Reading about labor and practicing her breathing is so much easier than actually doing it. Books and videos and classes, they honestly can’t do it justice. Her hand wraps tightly around Teo’s hand when he holds onto it, relieving her grapple of his clothes for something more sturdy. Amidst her panting, Abby’s presence at ground zero, and her human prop, Delilah apparently realizes that she needs to be timing this better, for everyone’s sake.

Abby gives her the go ahead, but it is a few seconds until Dee feels the next contraction; when she does, her lungs exhale in a strangled yell, and her face screws up into a painfully beet red, gritting mask. The timed exertion ends with her mouth opening in a more gasping cry, and she pins herself back down into Teo. It’s always different, how many times one needs to push like that- and right now, she has no idea how many more she has ahead of her.

There’s many more to come for Delilah, of that, there is a certainty. Between Abby and Teo, Delilah won’t really be counting how many on concentrating on breathing and working with her body to bring Walter into the world. From the window beside Abby, there’s a knock on the window and someone inquiring with a concerned voice about what’s happening and if any help is needed.

It’s with an authoritative yell towards the window that she points out to the person that someones giving birth in the SUV and they had best back off. Call 9-1-1 if they so desired. She’d say more, but with this push, Abigail gives a gasp as Walters head makes an appearance, Abigail’s hands there to hold it, marvel at the shock of red hair that is there.

“One more Dee, just one more and he’s here okay? Just one more to get the rest of him out and this’ll all be over and you’ll have Walter in your arms and we can get you to the hospital and you’ll be all comfortable in a hospital bed and Teodoro and you can just stare at him for the rest of the day okay? So just… “

Just.. “Push”

'Push.' That advice is iconic for birthing scenes everywhere. Literature, television. The echoing chamber of Teo's blond head. Something about universal experiences make you think you've seen it all before, despite the fact that one's muscle-memory is still muscle-retardedery, hands as incompetent as a foal's feet are. Tension screams up the back of the Sicilian's neck as he stares over the round bump of Delilah's belly at where Abigail crouches over her legs. Holy shit. Walter's being born. Again. Fucking Ghost, hadn't been there the first time or maybe he'd have some idea—

No, but it's going okay. He believes in Abigail that it's true; she could see the head already, and while apparently the fact that Delilah had been in labor since yesterday was of consequence, she's as quick to cope as she was to speak. Really is Delilah's bad, you know, with the not fucking saying anything, and that is so remarkably irrelevant right now, Teodoro doesn't know why he's thinking it, can't be sure that it has anything to do with thinking at all. His arms tighten fractionally. Loosen again. He feels sweat come through her clothes to his and hears himself mumbling some litany of reassurances: Push. Push, you're doing great, tesoro, just a little longer.

An eye catches his through the window adjacent. He glances sidelong blindly for a moment, blinks when the girl behind it pulls away, shrieking at the tops of her lungs. Cellphone out. There must be half a dozen of them now, people dialling the PD.

“If I wanted to start a peepshow I’d have gotten that job at Burlesque!” Delilah, though trapped in a feat of effort, still has half a mind to snap loudly at the outside voice or two that comes into the vehicle. Whether or not it is Delilah’s fault this is happening here, nobody can really blame her. It’s not like she came with a manual stamped on the inside of her arm or anything.

That would have been super helpful, though.

Push? Maybe a little easier said than done. Delilah steels herself again, teeth tight in her face and the real world feeling so much more sweaty and everywhere than the vision in June did. That’s because it was a vision. There was no way for her to actually know that it was going to be like this, other than what she was learning. Dee can hear Teo’s murmurings and Abby’s instruction at the same time, it sounds like; when they tell her to push again, the redhead gains her bearings and does just that.

Delilah’s effort is rewarded many pushes and Teo’s attempts to comfort her later, the feeling of fullness replaced by the release of intense pressure and feel of fluid following out after little Walter who had rested so comfortably in the last nine months. Which leaves Abigail cradling a very wrinkled purply-pink skinned baby covered in white stuff, blood and that shock of red hair plastered to his skull in one arm, supporting his head and smiling down at the literal newborn.

She doesn’t speak, make any noise to reassure the parents in front of her, grabbing the bulb and with quick movements born of what skills she learned, out goes liquid and in goes air and just like that…

Vicious and violent infant affront in the form of a lusty wail from Walter.

Walter who’s now screaming his little pink faced lungs off at the audacity that Abby had to actually remove him from his mothers stomach despite that he was coming whether Abby was there or not. Into the cold, out of the warmth of the cruel world that today seems just a bit crueler to many and oblivious to the hurt that his birthing had caused his mother and distress to his father.

Abby grabs a towel, working quick to wipe him off as gently as possible then toss another towel on Delilah’s now slightly less rotund belly and with utmost care and reverence almost, places him there while mentally calculating things in her head, noting the baby’s behaviour, the quivering lips of outrage and exposed gums. Every-thing's fine, everything looks fine. Ten toes, ten finger, the appropriate genitalia that He should have.

“You have a boy Dee, Teo.” Duh. She covers him up, watches for a moment with a certain amount of jealousy and yearning that can’t be mistaken for anything else before she diverts her attention back below the hem of Delilah’s nightgown and leaves him to Teo and Delilah to delight over. Her own work isn’t done, she’s got cords to take care of, placenta’s to deliver, all that other stuff never really covered. “Not cutting the cord, you’ll be at a hospital soon enough, Just.. just going to leave it all be. But they might let you cut it at the hospital”

It's surreal. For what seems to be too many minutes and simultaneously too few, Teo's head is compacted full of adrenal static. He stares in some kind of hysterical fugue when Abigail's hands come out full of baby, frighteningly purple baby, and then the moment that tiny mouth pops open and sentiment comes waiiiling out into the air—

The blood drains out of Teo's head. He doesn't pass right out, mind you; he's too much of an ACTION HERO for that shit. "Oh," he says, "Yes. O—kay." He needs more hands. This is not the first time he has ever thought this in his life, but it seems like one of the more important ones, somehow, and he says this as somebody who has saved the world once or twice and could have used to be able to kill more people at the same time. He blinks in what feels like an overexposure of light, drags a breath full of coppery air through his nose. "When we get to the hospital. He's," he looks down over her shoulder at the tiny creature in the woman's arms. "Very —" and in his register, scratchy with wonder, this is a good thing. "…red."

Delilah's breath comes into her lungs with a small gasp, her chest heaving once and the world swimming again, not with that pressurized pain, but with that feeling of a more physical emptiness, and the beating of her heart returning to vibrate lovingly in her ribcage, rather than her throat. The cry of her newborn, quite aptly, brings joyful water to her eyes, but it doesn't spill out to run over her cheeks with that sheen of sweat matting part of her fringe to her face She is all but quaking there against Teo, her shoulders shivering and hands nervous until Abby puts the baby against her, and they lock on as if her own life depended on it, but all the same, gentle.

All she can do is stare at the bawling babe, for the time that it is taking Abby to- well- finish the job properly. A lot of everything else seems less important now, even with a friend in a proximity she never expected said friend to be in, and Teo looking like a fish out of water, his staring blue eyes also in very close proximity. Delilah cups Walter close, softly, his cheek resting familiarly at the skin above her breast, just enough where she can see him for the first time.

"I love you guys…" is for Abby, and for Teodoro, Dee's heart melting of its own volition. "Wow, look at that hair-" The new mother laughs breathily, lips pulling her half-grimace into a smile. He's really there- it isn't a vision. He's real.

"Welcome out, Walter."

It’s done, finished, there goes the rest of what’s necessary to be delivered, Abby reaching up to carry out the rest of what she’s supposed to do, massaging Delilah’s belly and watching both of them welcome Walter into the world, watch the little bubble of self that the three have ensconced themselves in. Delilah won’t notice the ice packs, towels and all the other accouterments that will be noticed later.

They won’t notice that Abby’s eyes are swimming in saline, overwhelmed a bit. Overwhelmed with good, it’s not all bad. But when it seems that all is done in as much as she can be done here lacking any of the other necessary drugs and equipment, she’s stripping off her gloves and backing out, opening the door to let herself out into the small group of people who are both on the phone talking with 9-1-1, trying to record through heavily tinted windows or just wanting to know what’s happened.

All is fine of course, Abigail lets them know, gesturing for the person on 9-1-1 to pass over the phone so that she can relay all the necessary details to them about the state of mother and father, intended destination and a request that they notify the hospital that both Teo and Delilah will be incoming soon. Don’t bother with the ambulance, they’ll be fine. Thank you.

Then she’s passing over the phone, jogging to behind a crumbling building nearby, so she can bend over, put her hands on her knees and throw up as everything hits her.

They're a sight now, aren't they? Clothes practically laminated on with sweat, damp in the hair, armful of goo-smeared infant dangling feet he could have shod in teacups through the sodden warmth of the air. Teo stares at the infant. His heart seems to have sloughed down to the bottom of its cage, wearily, barely squirming along a biological rhythm. He feels drained, and he hadn't even had to do anything besides interpose himself between Delilah and the wall of the vehicle.

It's terribly quiet in here, suddenly. "I think Abigail's about to upchuck, or something," he says, and even that observation comes through a dream-like, molasses haze, slow. His forefinger finds its way to Walter's teeny hand, and is starfished to. He's too warm, but somehow the heat off the infant's body is appreciable enough to register when impossibly diminutive fingers pinch a stubborn grip inward. The infant seems far too new for this place. New York City, with its — nosy bystanders and flash-forwards, exploding Petrellis and crazy bullshit. Yet this one time, New York City seems to be holding its breath, giving enough space to allow this impossibly tiny infant to take his first sucking lungfuls of air.

"Hello," he remembers to say eventually, against the warm curve of Delilah's ear. "Ciao, bambino."

Delilah sinks back into Teo the last few centimeters, the tension in her muscles and through her entire body letting her rest, finally. Everything hurts, regardless, but even that is buffered by the rush of natural chemicals and the distinct smog of time feeling as if it has slowed down just for this. The crowding people outside, however few, are not taken into consideration much at this point. Show’s over, everyone go home, please.

“I think she’ll be okay.” Delilah murmurs, softly, her head leaning against the curve of the arm reaching down to put a finger under that incredibly tiny hand, Walter’s fingers responding only to try and ball a fist around the fingertip. “Thank God for her.” Lilah’s lips dip down just so, brushing warm against damp ginger hair on a soft little head. Walter’s sporadic caterwauling slows somewhat as he lies there against his mother, gummy mouth opening and closing with indecisiveness.

“I don’t care how much it hurt, all of a sudden.” Brown eyes flicker up and over to examine the line of Teo’s jaw, her forehead butting slightly against it. “But god, I am so tired.”

"I'm not sure if it's okay if you sleep," Teo says suddenly, remembering that's ill-advised with concussion and freezing patients, at least. At some point, falling asleep becomes one of those things you should not let a person do, like some vital spark is preserved in the act of consciousness and the process of waking up more precarious than the usual act of rolling out of bed and donning rabbit slippers. He hooks a broad forefinger around the back of Walter's wrist, and gives the grasping palm a gentle squeeze, careful. Release, and he runs the folded knuckle of his fingers under the infant's chin. "Like, maybe it'd be better if we waited for that until we got to the hospital.

"I don't know if the same applies to feeding him. Would it?" There are such things as allergies. Tests? Do they test infants before delivering them to their mothers? Maternity wards have incubator-things, plastic bubbles they keep babies in, but that might be for the preemies. That might be for someone else. "That could keep you awake. We should check with Abigail. Do you want me to check with Abigail? Hey, don't—" He bops her cheek with his nose. "Don't fall asleep on us now."

“Rather she didn’t sleep” Abigail chimes in, the drivers side door opened quietly, her shirt and sweater marked with bodily fluids as she grabs her phone that had at some point started to bleat but eventually stopped. It’s tucked into a pocket, her purse next to follow as the door is closed once more

And then the passenger side, some people having left and only two or three left as Abigail invites herself back in. “She can feed him, it’ll be good for him, and her, help with the bleeding and her uterus” She’s checking, making sure that nothing out of the ordinary is happening, looking like it might happen, peering at Walter with red rimmed eyes.

“I have a problem. Jersey is another state” She’s looking at Teo. “I can get that Lady out there to drive you both to the hospital on the other side of the tunnel and you can stay back here with Delilah. Or you can drive Delilah and Walter fast. Run yellows, get a cops attention and have them escort you, what have you, once you get through the tunnel. The problem is, I’ll get arrested if cross the state line. I can’t come with you guys”

Abby doesn’t reach out to touch Walter or the other two, keeping her hands to herself, laying it out for the pair.

“I’m not gonna fall asleep.” Delilah states, as plainly as she can manage. It comes out significantly quieter than usual. She has to stay awake, she wants to just- look at him. Her head lifts a little when Abby returns, a wordless gratitude written on every part of her face. though listening to what the other girl has to say- it is an awful realization- Delilah finds some footing with her own feet, bracing herself to have to possibly move soon. It pains her to even do this, now. Marien wasn’t kidding when she described the aftermath. Not at all.

“I’m sorry this happened in your car, Abby.” A beyond sheepish remark, but honest. “Thank you.” Delilah tears up again, matching Abby’s own reddened eyes. “So much, I don’t know what I would do without you.”

Well, for starters, she probably would not have exploded in an SUV on the side of the interstate in some offshoot parking garage. But she also would not have had someone there to help her through this and many things before it. It may be a good time to be making decisions about how to get out of here. Dee knows she can figure out how to fix that little mouth searching for something Very Important, but only after they know who is taking them where.

Teo fixes two blue eyes on the driver's seat, finds himself rather annoyed for a moment that this vehicle didn't come with a camouflage system that would conceal Abigail the ride through and a number of other things that, admittedly, hadn't even been invented in 2019. Fucking technology. Always shiny and new, until it isn't new enough.

"I can drive, but I'd appreciate it if you'd come with us far as you can. If that's all right. If you want to," he starts to trainwreck caveats in, because there's the vaguest notion of propriety, the abstract and theoretical possibility that Abby might not want to go the rest of the way. "I'll pay for your cab ride back." It's the least he can do, after everything. Even if Delilah necessarily did most of ‘the work,’ they would have been pretty thoroughly screwed without Abigail here.

"That sound okay?" He looks at Delilah questioningly, his rough hands coming to a close around her bicep. Squeeze. "Teo— uh. Sorry: mini-me, he was going to drive over with the toy. He just stopped by the brownstone to pick it up. If we can't get to phones at the hospital in an hour or two, you call him, and he should be able to tell you anything he knows." Probably up to and including a few lovely stories and delays at the front desk, double-takes, because they could have sworn up and down they'd let him through thirty-five minutes ago. Teodoro shifts Delilah carefully, or starts to. Away from himself, grabbing at wadded towels to compose a suitable replacement.

How they're going to deal with the fucking seatbelts, he has no idea. But it's past him to say it now: 'fucking seatbelts,' with Walter squinting dazedly at them, Abby's own eyes gone strawberry and puffy-lidded.

“I’d go further Teodoro. I would, you know that I would, I’d move the world. But It’s a state line and they won’t care that I was driving a pregnant woman who’s just given birth. Justice being blind and all.” It’s not a matter of her not wanting to, but not wanting to spend any more time than (not really) necessary, behind bars.

“The hospital knows your coming, they know everything that I told the dispatcher, what vehicle to expect you in and the GPS will get you there. Odds are, there are cops already on their way here, and they can escort you over, I can go with you to the mouth of the tunnel, after that, I have to get out” Abby shifts in her spot, moving to help get Delilah situated, seatbelts not really a concern at this point given that she just popped out a baby. Woe be to any cops who makes fuss about that.

“We need to get going, before they think to shut down the island. I’ll ask one of the people outside to follow so they can give me a ride and I can head back to the apartment, Robert and I will go find safe places to stay and wait out the day. I promised him we’d hunker down in 21 and eat caviar and drink champagne today” It had been a heartfelt comment that night, and today it seemed strange really. She’d head home, see if he was still there.

“You gotta go, the sooner Dee and the baby get to the hospital the better it will be. This is how the lord wanted it. Only, with a little less death huh?” She reaches over then, stroking a finger along the littlest occupants cheek.

Teo seems to concentrate his worry back on that silly animal, but at this point Delilah isn’t about to start telling him not to do that. If it helps him cope with the fact that Walter was born in the back of Abby’s car, all the better. She nods, in a daze, along with whatever it is that the others are discussing; not really listening as well as she could be, Dee’s attention is otherwise explicitly on her baby.

“It’s okay, Abby.” If she can’t be with them the whole way, it’s still okay. Delilah knows that Abby has done as much as she could and more. She smiles at the blonde when she finally does move to touch the baby in a way that isn’t to pull him into the wide world. “Yeah. I’ll never let him live it down, though, the way it was meant to happen or not.” She murmurs, her smile flickering a little bigger. “Every time he gives me shit, I’ll say ‘Walter, you made me give birth in a car.’” Not to mention his actual birthday is quite the date. Why couldn’t he have shot for October? What a wily baby.

Now, it is her turn again to help them actually get her back to a place where she can ride in the car and not be rolling around anywhere. It’s going to be tricky, but with this help, she’ll do it fine. Perfect, in Abby’s inside voice.

In seconds, the four of them have scrambled and sorted themselves out again— probably little more than a blur of motion-color and muffled noise according to the baby in Delilah's arms. Doors opening and clopping shut, a squeaky working of hinges when they get the door halfway up under the Englishwoman's damp shoulders, seatbelt fastened over her half-prone shape and towels netting in the lumpy assortment of ice packs against her. Teo gets another kiss off somewhere in all that. Two of them. One for the young mum, one for the—

In that moment, leaning over the back seat to cover them with his shadow, he is so precariously shy that the way he handles himself around Abigail was practically rambunctious. The kiss presses to Walter's brow, cautiously as a butterfly trying out new wings.

The motor reawakens with a grumble of metal on metal. Foot to the gas, and Teodoro's gentler now than he would have been driving the car before Walter came out. Maybe because the worst of it is over, or because Walter demands special treatment. The SUV smoothes into the tunnel, and he glances sidelong at Abigail. When he speaks, his voice seems to be coming over a grater's surface: "Mio forte cuore. I owe you. Hell, we owe you. I swear to God, Abby, if you ever need anything— there's three of me." The tires scratch asphalt, and they finally draw to a stop just outside the mouth of the tunnel.

Abigail glances to Teo as he gets the car started, strapped in beside him in the front, eye’s meeting across the divide between passenger and driver before they drift back to Delilah and Walter .

“Just make sure he grows up Teo. That’s all I need” She looks out the window, the people scattering who had gathered. “Just make sure he grows up”

Delilah eases herself into a lulled sort of daze, when they are able to get her situated in the backseat, with a swaddled baby in her arms. As per suggestion, yes, she has begun attempting to feed the newborn. It isn’t as awkward as it sounds, and not as awkward as it is to type it out. It’s a simple thing- a mouth finding something to latch onto, momentarily contented even if not quite needed.

The redhead in the back can hear most of what’s going on, trying to not close her eyes lest she pass out. Teo is right, and the only confirmation of what he is saying- she backs it up- is a murmur of constitution for Abby’s sake.

They owe her so much, and nobody is going to soon forget that.

Welcome to String Theory…


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