These Small Hours



Scene Title These Small Hours
Synopsis Someone makes an appearance a couple of weeks earlier than scheduled.
Date June 21, 2012

Elmhurst Hospital

Siren wailing. Or was that her? Everything was washed in red. She could hear things cracking, and in the moment of being able to breathe, she reined in her power.

She wakes slowly, aware of an antiseptic scent that told her hospital. It takes her a moment more to to remember why she's in the hospital, and Elisabeth's blue eyes fly open.

A needle pricked her arm and she grabbed the hand holding it, snarling, "NO DRUGS!" Fighting with the owner of that hand.

A man's rather alarmed face in a sterile white light.

The kaleidoscope of images is dizzying.

Ripping. Burning. Nothing but pain. And lights. Lights on the ceiling. Shouting.

Her hand drops to her abdomen — no longer distended to the point where she can't see over it anymore but not flat either.

She is pushing upright as the nurse comes in to check up on her. "Well, hello there! I figured you'd be waking up pretty shortly here."

"How long?" Her throat is dry and she hurt in all kinds of unmentionable places, but Elisabeth is getting out of this bed.

"Whoa, whoa! Slow down!" The nurse steps in front of her and gently urges her back down. "Let me take care of the things I need to get off you so you can move, okay? How are you feeling?"

In a hoarse tone, Liz replies, "A little… fuzzy. Is the baby… it was too early!"

"Babies have their own timetables," the nurse chuckles. "She's just fine. We had to negate you, though. When she crowned, you …. Well, some of the equipment didn't survive." The nurse is an older woman and she seems rather amused. "The doctor has a concussion. And I think you burst the EMT's eardrum — and that brave guy kept standing there the whole time holding your hand. I think you might owe him a beer."

Relief swamps her. Elisabeth drops back onto the bed, a little sheepish. "Shit. I'm so sorry."

"I think they've all forgiven you — the EMTs know better than to not check on Evo status before loading." The nurse grins as she takes care of the tubes and needles attached to Elisabeth. "I think everyone's just glad it didn't happen on the road. All's well that ends well, right?" She pats Liz's shoulder, and as she wraps up the tubes and paraphernalia, the door opens.

Another nurse rolls a clear bassinet in, and Elisabeth has a flash of memory.

Push! One more time, dammit! You can do this!

The EMT? Who even was he? Why was he familiar?

A soft hiccup, then a solid wail of indignation.

The warmth of the weight on her chest, and the sight of that tiny face all covered in goo. She released the hand she'd been squeezing and reached up, laughing and crying at the same time, stroking a gentle finger down the baby's wet cheek. "Oh God…"

A lot of what came next is a blur. They'd taken the baby, bustled around her for a while … apparently helped the people she'd mangled. And she remembers the baby reappearing on her chest, this time swaddled and with a pink fuzzy hat on.

She remembers trying to nurse the baby the first time and collapsing in frustrated tears because it wasn't working. They'd taken the baby away again and she'd finally slept. When they said "labor," they weren't kidding! She'd thought the stories of 32-hour labor were a joke. The joke was on her.

With the nurse's help, she settles back into the pillows behind her. And finally, finally she's holding the tiny being for whom she'd waited all these weeks. Her whole body trembles. Tears slide down her face as she unswaddles and inspects every little detail of the infant in her hands, from the soft down that covers her head to the cloudy blue-grey eyes to the minuscule hands with their itty bitty fingernails all the way to the tiny little pink toes. "She's perfect," Liz whispers, in awe at the tiny being.

When the baby begins to squirm and complain rather loudly at being cold and probably hungry, Liz can't help a watery laugh.

The older nurse remains while the nursery nurse leaves. It's awkward and uncomfortable, not exactly graceful by any stretch. But with a little coaching, Liz finally manages to get the hang of it and the infant nurses while she watches with exhausted delight.

"Okay, I'm going to leave you for a few minutes to get acquainted and I'll check back shortly," the nurse says easily. "My name's Gretchen. Push the button if you need me sooner." She heads out to check on her other patients.

When they're finally alone together, Elisabeth works with the baby on the nursing thing for a while, and when the infant seemed sated, they nestle together peacefully. She tucks the little girl onto her chest where she can hear the familiar sound of her mother's heartbeat.

By the time Gretchen the Nurse came back into the room, both mother and daughter were asleep. She took the baby once more back to the nursery, the bassinet marked, "A.M. Cranston, 6lbs 9oz, 20 inches — 2:00pm, 21 June 2012"

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