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Scene Title Spark
Synopsis One ignites. Another goes out. There is a balance to the universe.
Date April 11, 2011

In Dreams

"Just a little more, Elle."

An explosion reverberates through Grand Central Terminal, causing the overhead lights in the small supply room to flicker, and although the Ferry's urban stronghold is deep below ground, the women crowded around the small figure of Elle Bishop on the cement floor can hear the roar of jet engines streaking a blood-red sky. Above their heads, New York City — or at least large portions of it — are burning. Julie Fournier darts a glance up at the lights, her mouth pinched into a worried expression, then looks back down at Elle whose knees are drawn up and the soles of her feet, still in their socks, are flat against the floor.

Most of the Terminal's occupants have already evacuated, heading deeper into the city's tunnel networks with everything they can carry — suitcases full of clothes and falsified paperwork, backpacks weighed down by dented cans of fruits preserved in syrup and vegetables in water and brine. Pickled things. Food in airtight containers. Sustenance that will keep. They'll worry about water when they get to wherever it is that they're going.

But there are also those who have chosen to remain behind. Among them, Delilah Trafford and Sable Diego, because Francois and Megan aren't here, and Julie should not have to bring Elle's child into the world alone.

"You're almost there," Julie says, crouched between Elle's legs on her knees as the infant's head begins to crown. "Keep pushing—"

It's been a long time coming. Elle's been waiting for this day. Waiting for the day that she can see her beautiful little baby. The baby that's been growing inside of her for the past nine months. It didn't happen like normal. No, something like a technologically advanced turkey baster and a lot of confusing experiments brought this day about.

It definitely could have come at a better time, though.

Still, even though some part of her feels horribly violated, that they would do this to her, even though there's bombs going off above the ground, Elle Bishop has been waiting for this day. Waiting for the day that she could see the little person that's been growing in her with her own eyes, instead of looking at a round belly that makes it impossible to see her feet.

Plus, she's looking forward to not being pregnant any more. She's had about enough of feeling like a beached whale half of the time.

She clings to a blanket, propped up against a pile of clothing to keep herself elevated. It's more comfortable that way. Blonde hair mats to the little woman's forehead, which glistens with beads of sweat. Her screams of pain have only gotten louder with each push, but she's making progress. It hurts, but…it'll be worth it, just to see her baby's face.

With another scream, Elle bears down, her hands clenching tight around the blanket.

Part of Delilah's staying- well- she has done this very thing before. It seemed prudent to remain, and to offer that experience as best she could. Reading about it and doing it are such different things. Dee wouldn't want anyone to have to go it almost alone, even with the world above being torn into shreds. Mane of red tied back behind her head, Delilah is there at Elle's side, having made sure they got her to a more comfortable location before they had asked her to start doing anything at all; after a time, all that she can do is keep Elle's brow dry, and coach Julie should she falter. This must be how Teo felt, isn't it? Awkward, unable, feeling the pressure in his head.

"We've got you, darling, you're doing bloody fantastic." Delilah's arm is half behind the blonde woman's shoulders, there to adjust her into position every time that she slips out of it. "Just think, there'll be a little thing waiting for you at the end of all this, hm? Only gotta do it once…" Unless she has a second, but at this point Dee is not pooling her chips.

The screams are a constant reminder to hurry the fuck up, and while they are certainly preferable to those that likely keen high over their heads from both machine and man, they certain do make a woman feel the pressure. Sable bounds through the once bustling refuge, bare shouldered with her drab olive army surplus jacket gathered in a bundle and held in her arms.

She's scampering up a last ascent when another detonation unsteadies her footing and Sable goes sprawling, knees scraped through her many-pocketed pants. As the bundle bursts open, white and orange pill bottles spill out like a medical pinata. "Shit!" Sable exclaims, reaching out with her arms to hastily gather the medicine back up. Pulling the spoils into her arms, she casts a momentary look in the direction of the fire-forged thunder shaking their subterranean sky before resuming her run for where Delilah, Julie and - most importantly - Elle.

The pill bottles rustle like insect husks as Sable spills them - carefully of course - on the ground between Julie and Dee, hands moving quickly to snatch up the ones that try to roll wild, setting them upright. "Dunno what half this shit is…" she admits, ruefully, picking up one of the bottles and squinting at the label, "des- deslorata-" her nose wrinkles, and she looks to Julie, brows tilted at angles of uncertainty, "whatall should I look for?"

Outside in the corridor, the barking of a large dog echoes down the line, and Delilah knows that Joseph and Kaylee are getting Walter and Joseph's little girl out. She has nothing to worry about; the only place her son can possibly be safer than with friends is with his father, and that's probably where they're taking him.

Or where Samson is taking all of them. She cannot be sure.

Like thunder heralding a storm on the approach, the next explosion is much closer than the first, and it rocks the Terminal with such force that the overhead lights do not flicker this time; instead, they're blown out out, showering the women in broken pieces of glass, and the rivet attaching them to the ceiling torn loose. They drop down and narrowly avoid crashing onto Elle's head when the wires go taut, but Julie is not so lucky.

The lights swing in a wide, sparking arc. She raises an arm to shield herself, too late — the lights connect with her skull, and she goes down hard, striking her head against the shelving unit mounted to the wall.

Julie does not get up again. Sable and Delilah are on their own.

Perhaps it is that famous intuition, or maybe Delilah is just having a kneejerk reaction to such a close blast- when it shakes and rumbles the world around them, tearing the lights from their places and sending them flying every way- Dee puts herself over Elle, able to use the fact she is twice as big to help her in becoming a shield. It might be uncomfortable, but it is better than the fate that Julie gets.

Brown eyes lifting to look with doe-like trepidation, Delilah stares at the dimly outlined form of Julie Fournier lying askew, that hard noise having been much too familiar for Dee to actually expect her to get up. Jaw twinging closed, the redhead leans up from Elle, careful of not getting any glass on her than is avoidable, even if she can feel some pricking at the back of her neck. "Sable, check Jules' pulse- Elle, listen to me now, don't freak out-" The voice is still hers, but now it cannot be as coddling as it was a moment ago.

"I'm gonna to get pretty close to you, you might wanna take me to dinner later." She can feel Dee moving slightly away, only for her to hover to where Julie had been, after trying to brush herself free of debris. "You can do it, just like you practiced…"

Elle is in mid-push when the chaos begins. An all-out shriek escapes her throat as the glass showers down on them, as the light falls from its rivet, as Julie is knocked out by said light. The woman lets out a scream, dropping her blanket over her chest; one hand goes up to defensively shield her head from the light, while the other goes down, to protect the crowning head of her soon-to-be-born child. The precious cargo she's carried as carefully and protectively as she could for the past several months. To keep glass from raining down on the baby, as well.

Even as Deliah throws herself over her, Elle is still pushing. It's become a reaction now, something she can't help but do. Clenching up and not pushing is not an option, this close to the end, with the head crowning as it is. Tears join the sweat that wets her face, the woman sobbing as she finishes that inconveniantly interrupted push.

"Is she okay?! What— what's happening up there?" Teary eyes turn up toward the ceiling, before slowly drifting back down to Dee. She wants to cry, wants to move away, but she really can't. She's too far into this, moving would hurt even worse than she already does. Panic gleams in her eyes, even as the redhead assumes the spot that Julie occupied moments ago.

But then, another contraction comes along, and along with it, that instinctive pushing. She screams again, grabbing her blanket and biting at it. A belt would be better to bite, but she'll take what she can get right now.

It all happens much too quickly and the bottom drops out of Sable's stomach as the light swings down in that brutal, arbitrary arc. No time even for Julie to cry out. Just an arm, and that is not enough. Sable fears the worst at once, and it's with dread that she complies with Delilah's command, fingers reaching out to press under the fallen woman's jaw. She feels, and when at first she thinks she feels nothing, she is sure. She knows she is gone.

And then she feels the flutter of a still-beating heart.

"She's arright," Sable declares, maybe not with total accuracy. Julie is by no sensible measure 'all right'. The yellow eyed woman makes no attempt to move Julie, not yet. A blow like that is a neck injury as much as a head injury, and Sable has more first aid knowledge than she ever expected to acquire. She turns from Julie, attention best applied elsewhere - Sable's sure Julie won't mind.

Oh but Lord what is she supposed to do to help with that? Sable moves over, crouches, perched over her stockpile of medicine. Some things she knows they'll need. Antibiotics. Pain meds. These little miracles of modern living, scavenged.

With Elle falling back into her natural rhythm, and Delilah essentially taking up midwifery, there is little to deter from the track as it is laid out in front of them. The blonde woman finds herself with a few more determined heaves before there is a deep exhale from Delilah, and a sudden lack of infant on Elle's end.

"Sable, shit, get your coat off-" It's clear what she wants it for, soft hands full of baby. Delilah uses her own dry sleeve to clear the infant's mouth as she holds him above the floor, just as he- he, she realizes- lets out a breathy little cry, the noise like a mouse amidst an earthquake, quailing and needy and overall displeased with being upended into this strange state.

"Hello there baby boy, how are you?" The coo in her voice is unmistakable, brown eyes darting around to find her partner in crime. "Get your knife too, I need you to cut the cord." It's not a question, it's a direction, no matter if Sable is scared.

The final push is offered with a final loud scream, Elle pushing as hard as she can. And then, there is relief, in the form of Elle being a good eight pounds lighter all of a sudden. She promptly falls back against her pile of clothes, panting heavily as she's finally almost home free. But she's not so concerned over the fact that she's got a break, now. She's happy about that, yes.

What she's more concerned about is the little baby boy who is crying and expressing his displeasure of his new discovery of the big world outside of his mother's womb. She only rests for a moment, before she's straining to see the baby, blue eyes wide. "It — he's…" Tears are still mingling with the sweat on her face, but this time, they're happy tears.

It doesn't matter that the explosions are rattling the ceiling. It doesn't matter that Julie is laying unconcious on the floor, with a garunteed head wound and a likely neck wound, cold as that may be. The only thing that matters right this moment is that baby boy in Dee's arms.

Her features, once clenched with pain, soften as she looks upon the little boy. "A boy?" She asks through the tears, reaching for him with trembling hands. "R — Robert. His name is Robert Ray Bishop." It's amazing, really. She didn't expect the little boy to draw such an amazing reaction from her. Such an amazing pull. She wants to hold him, more than she's wanted anything in the world.

The bottles shake free of the coat beneath them as Sable's jacket is sacrificed for a greater cause. She lifts the faded assemblage of army olive like it's a reliquary cloth, hands spread to help wrap the baby. She has to pass the task to Delilah at once, she has pressing matters. Sable's hands withdraw and she nimbly extracts a blade from the inside of her boot. The umbilical is eyed with a certain distrust. If she's going to cut it, she'd rather think of it as a target than part of Elle or the newly named Robert.

She grabs, ands it's bloody, and she applies the blade with a care and precision that has come with practice, if not at this particular task. The edge cuts cleanly.

That's that. Robert is on his own.

The knife disappears back into Sable's boot. "Congratulations, gal. Savor th' moment while y' got it," she says, dipping her head and smiling, "'cause we gotta move, 'n' we got two people t' carry," she tilts her head back at the recumbent Julie, "small as one 'f 'em may be."

Delilah is not a medic, but her eyes are sharp enough, experienced enough to recognize the signs when she sees them; Elle's skin, flushed and mottled when she first went into labour, has gone ash-pale, and the sweat that plasters her straw-blonde hair to her swollen cheeks and gleaming brow has a texture like grease. The light behind the adoring gaze she turns on her newborn son is not as bright as it was a few minutes ago, and as Sable takes the knife to little Robert's umbilical cord, her gaze is drawn to the passage he came from, and the blood saturating the blanket they spread out for the mother-to-be when they first sequestered themselves in the supply room.

There's too much of it.

The amount of time that mother and son have together is limited. Darkness has already begun to crowd around the edges of Elle's vision, waiting for her to succumb to exhaustion so it can stake its claim.

She does not ever need to know it unless they tell her, and it is their decision which is kinder.

Though Sable is right- they do need to move- while Delilah was down there delivering the baby, she found out that something was very wrong shortly after delivering him. It is there now like a dark wet omen, staining at the floor and very likely on Delilah's own knees as she wraps the boy up. When Sable cuts little Robert away, Delilah doesn't waste any time in leaning forward to hold him against Elle's chest. This is yours.

She doesn't say anything about the blood, though a fresh litter of tears are pooling at the top of her smile. This is Elle's time to be with her son, however brief she knows it will be.

"You did it." Delilah's voice is soft among the noise from above, one arm holding Robert to his mother, and the other palming a hand across her forehead to draw her pale hair from her eyes. The baby yells still, if nothing else because he has a full set of lungs. "He's beautiful, Elle."

As the child is placed in her arms, Elle enfolds him in an embrace, tears brimming over in her eyes as she gazes down at the little boy. Her son. "I waited all my life for you…" She whispers this to the newborn, pale lips pressing a soft kiss against the little child's forehead. "He's the most beautiful thing I ever laid eyes on…my baby boy."

Little Robert and those gathered are likely the only ones who will ever witness such kindness, such love, in her voice. In her face.

Sable's remarks about needing to leave are hardly noticed. Greeted by a distracted, weak response. "Just…let me rest for a minute." Decency cast aside, Elle is doing what the books told her to do. Her maternity shirt is pulled down, the little boy is offered his first meal. The best start that she can give to him. Nothing but the best for her little prince. "I didn't even know I was going to have you until your Auntie 'Dessy told me…but I've been waiting for you."

Soft hands stroke the little boy's head, her comparitively large fingers finding his tiny ones, a soft, weak laugh escaping Elle's throat. "I never thought I could love someone so much…"

The darkness is edging closer, but right now…right now, she's so happy.

It is very hard to feel both this happy and this sad. Few moments truly encompass such antipodes. Life and death, concurrent.

There really isn't a great deal Sable can say at this moment. As Elle's world shrinks, she will disappear from it, lost in an endless, misty periphery. That's all right, though. What's important, Sable can see, Elle has focused right in on.

Loathsomely practical, she begins to load her pants pockets with the medicine. Pragmatism is simply ugly in the face of tragic sublimity, but Sable doesn't mind a little ugliness.

She told Elle to have the moment. It's the least she can have, now.

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