Saturday, December 1, 2012

38 Weeks: The Eighth Week

A/N: Burn Notice romantic fluff with a side of angst. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.  

First thing Monday morning, Michael and Fi were at her gynecologists. They re-did the pregnancy test, and once again it came up positive.

"So, there's no chance this might be something else?" Fi asked her doctor.

"We'll do an ultrasound, just to make absolutely sure and see how far along you are, but the chance that it's something else is awfully small."

"When can we make the appointment for the ultrasound?" Michael asked.

"It's part of the first pregnancy consultation. We've got one here, and when we get done with this, you'll head three doors down, and Sarah, our ultrasound tech, will check everything out."

What followed was a very long, very detailed, and very nerve wracking medical history. By the time they were done, they had even more pamphlets about high risk pregnancies, the name of an OB who specialized in high risk pregnancies, and actual statistics to go with all of the potential ways a pregnancy could go wrong.
Michael didn't find having the stats particularly comforting. He especially didn't find the stats on trisomies (due to Fi being over forty) or Autism and schizophrenia (due to him being over forty) even remotely comforting.

He was sitting on a hard plastic chair, filling out yet more paperwork, while Fi vanished behind a curtain and got changed into yet another of those patient gowns. Apparently he was looking like grim death, probably glaring at the paperwork, when Sarah came in.

She shook her head, took the information from him, and tutted. "They gave you the high-risk-pregnancy, here's-everything-that-can-go-wrong, information, didn't they?"

He may have grunted by way of response. It's possible he said yes. He wasn't really paying attention.

"You have to remember, less than three percent of babies are born with a birth-defect. Sure, you're high risk, but high risk is still awfully low." He had a sense that there was a hole in the logic there, but it was the first really comforting statistic that he'd run into today, so he held onto it. "Come here. You see this?" She showed him the screen for the ultra-sound.


"Once your wife gets changed, you'll get to see your baby there. Have you ever done this before?"


"Seen an ultrasound of a baby?"


"Not like this, you haven't. We've got the latest imaging technology here. If she's far enough along, we'll be able to see your baby's fingernails."

"Really?" His interest perked up at that idea.

"Really. You won't just hear the heartbeat, you'll be able to see the blood moving through the heart, all four ventricles, brain, spine, kidneys, you name it, and as long as it's there, we can see it." He smiled at that. "And, one thing to remember, when they give you those horrible here's-everything-that-could-possibly-go-wrong speech, we can fix so much more these days than we ever could before. They can actually do surgery now on the baby, before it's born."

Fi came around the screen, and Sarah walked over and introduced herself. She explained what she was going to do and why she was going to do it, how everything was going to work, and how, in half an hour or so, they'd have baby pics to show their friends.

It was certainly bizarre to be standing next to Fi, knowing what the lab tech was doing to her. Michael was trying not to think about that. Fi squeezed his hand, and he squeezed hers back.

And in a second, all thoughts about how they were getting the pictures were wiped away by the picture itself. It took a second for him to orient what he was looking at, but once he recognized it, he laughed, and Fi poked him for it.  

Baby Westen was mooning them. And Sarah had been right, there were details galore. He could see very tiny feet, and, eventually, as she moved the probe around, arms, legs, and a head. And she did spend some time getting a lot of images of the heart, and showed them how the blood was flowing the way it was supposed to.

She told them that the baby looked to be ten weeks along, but the doctor would give them a more precise number. Sarah then took a whole lot of measurements, and printed out a stack of photos, several of which Fi and Michael got to keep.

Sarah excused herself, leaving Mike and Fi looking at the image on the screen. He was still holding her hand, but his other hand drifted to her abdomen, and rested lightly against it. She put her hand over his and squeezed it.

"How'd it go?" Sam asks as they meet up at Carlito's after Fi's OB appointment. Supposedly he's there because Ricky is about to join them for a job consult, but he doesn't need to be there for the consult and he does want to know the appointment went.

Fi's begged off this one, wanting to get a nap. Most of the time Fi having no interest in anything besides sleeping would worry Mike, but he wants a little time to talk to Sam by himself, and with Fi pregnant, he really doesn't mind the idea of her being nowhere near anything that might go boom or might make her want to build something that goes boom. Sure, Ricky's said the job is non-violent, but still...

Sam's staring at him expectantly, and he realized he hasn't answered the question. "Good. She's ten weeks along. Which means the baby is due in August."

"Ten weeks..." Michael can see Sam thinking about that. "We were burning down your home, taking out Card, and cleaning up the mess that came after that. When did you two even find the time to... Never mind, I don't want to know."

Michael finds Sam saying his usual line somewhat surreal.

"How about the rest of it?"

"So far everything looks good. They did an ultrasound so they could figure out how far along Fi was. It's got two arms, two legs, fingers and toes, the heart was beating just fine.  It looks a whole lot like a shrimp and is about the size of one as well."

"Boy or girl?"

"Can't tell for another ten weeks. Sam, could you not say anything about this to my mom or Jesse? We still don't know what we're doing, and we'd like to have that planned out before making any announcements."

"Not a problem, Mike. But remember, your mom already knows, and there's only so long you can hide out before she'll be camped out at your place with an excuse to snoop around and see why you two have gone into hiding."

"I know."

They dropped that topic as Ricky came over, sat down, ordered an iced tea, and began to explain how, since Sherrod Washington was out of the game now, the Garden Terrace Mafia was fighting over new leadership. Once upon a time, Valentine, the rapper he works for, used to be a member.

As Ricky pointed out, gang warfare might provide a certain mystique and make for good lyrics, but it's bad business. Everyone will be better off if this problem were to go away.

Valentine offered to negotiate a settlement.

But since Razor G, one of the men in line to gain power was his cousin, the other two factions didn't trust him to be impartial. Looking for a possible impartial man to handle negotiations brought up Mike's name. He's got enough street cred that everyone will accept him as a negotiator. He's got enough of a reputation as a man who's capable of handling himself that he won't be easily intimidated. And he's got a reputation as a man with no vices. He can't be bought off with women, drugs, cars, or cash.

"Let me get this straight, you want me to mediate a takeover of power between three warring gang factions?"

"Exactly," Ricky said. "No matter what happens, or who you find for, all three groups have pledged that no harm will come to you or yours. And if anyone does break that truce, every other member will back you in taking care of the issue."

"But they haven't pledged to abide by what deal I come up with?"

"No. This might only stop the fighting for as long as they're all talking. But it's a start."

"A start." He thinks about it. It certainly sounds like a job that won't involve shooting, at least not at him. Though part of him is wondering if this is some sort of play to take him out because he helped set up Sherrod in the first place. Would Ricky do that to him? Would Ricky even know if that was in the works?

"They really just want a mediator?"

"Just a mediator."

Sitting around, listening to tense and dangerous men talk might not be Mike's favorite pastime ever, but it's easier than being one of those tense and dangerous men.

A thought hits, with Fi pregnant, having a couple hundred extra pairs of eyes watching their back would be a good thing. Another thought hits, they don't have health insurance, and medical care is expensive.

So for the first time ever, he asks, "How much will it pay?"

"Sixty thousand. Each group is willing to put up twenty grand. If you can come up with a plan everyone likes, an additional hundred grand will go on top courtesy of Valentine."

"I'm in." Mike was suddenly feeling extremely motivated to make sure everyone was happy with what he'd come up with.


Later that evening, Mike came home with dinner. He had a half dozen small plates from one of Fi's favorite restaurants, and was hoping she'd be willing to eat something. The pills made sure that Fi only threw up once or twice a day, instead of six to eight times, but they didn't make her feel good.

The house was dark and cool. Fi hadn't turned on any lights, and twilight had robbed it of the sun.

"Hey, Fi." His fairly standard greeting. He didn't hear a response and went looking for her. Not on the porch or the kitchen, he'd been hoping she'd be one of those two places.

Instead she was in bed, and while it's true that in general Mike is in favor of finding Fi in their bed, lately she's been there so much he's getting worried.

She's on her side, wearing pajamas, and curled under a light blanket. He sits on the bed next to her, touching her face. "Hey."

She shifts a bit, blinks at him, and makes eye contact. "Hey."

"I got small plates from Severnon. Want to have some dinner?"

"No. Just want to sleep."

"You sure? I got all of your favorites. Crispy kale with hazelnuts, hosin lambchops, duck spring rolls..."

"I'm tired, Michael. You eat them. I'll have something tomorrow."

"Please, Fi, you've got to eat."

"Michael, if I eat, I'll just throw it up in half an hour. I just want to sleep."

"Can I at least get you a drink? Sweet tea?" He hates sweet tea, but it's the closest thing to a glucose drip he can think of, and she needs some calories.   

"Really, I just want to sleep. I'll get something later."

"Okay. I'll let you rest."

He sets his laptop on the island in the kitchen and unpacks the food. Michael quickly makes up a plate for himself, saving the bits that he thinks look most attractive for Fi, hoping the sight of them tomorrow will get her eating.

Time to google. He's been reading up on pregnancy, so he knows that being tired, crabby, and nauseous is normal. But, Fi's sleeping something like twenty hours a day right now, and he's thinking that's beyond normal tired, beyond even normal pregnancy tired.

He's not really finding anything useful. Nothing says how much sleep a pregnant woman needs, let alone how much sleep she'd want if she's so nauseous she won't eat anything. He certainly understands that if you're not getting much food energy, then you're not going to want to do anything strenuous. Still...

He comes across something about baby blues and warning signs of depression. That looks horribly familiar. There's information about getting help, and about possible medications, but nothing about what to do if you're depressed because your heart is breaking. It seems to Mike that being depressed when you're giving up a baby you desperately want makes sense.

He keeps googling, writing up questions for Fi's doctor, checking how many calories she should be getting, and trying to find a way to fix this.


Thursday night. Michael is not, under the best of circumstances, a deep sleeper. Slight, out of place noises will pull him from asleep to fully awake in a matter of seconds.

A scream will do it even faster, and bring with it him jerking up, gun in hand, scanning the room for danger.

His heart is still pounding as he sees nothing besides Fi sitting up, screaming.

He drops the gun, and scrambles the few feet toward her.  He rubs his hands down her arms. "What is it?" She's not looking at him, doesn't respond to him. "Fi." She's still screaming. "Fi!" He shakes her gently, realizing she's not awake. "Come on, baby, wake up." He doesn't usually call her anything but her name when he's being himself, but right now he's scared and trying to get through whatever dream she's caught in. "Shhhh... You're safe, Fiona. You're here in our bed. It's time to wake up, love. Wake up." He rubs his hands up and down her arms. She jerks a little, and stops screaming.

"Shhhhhh... You're okay, love. We're home." She curls into his arms, feeling very small against his body, and begins sobbing and shivering. He holds her close, lips against her forehead, whispering to her, "Shhhh... It's okay, Fiona, it's okay."

Between sobs, Fi gets out, "She was in danger. She was in danger because of us, in pain because of us, and there was nothing we could do about it."

Michael doesn't need to ask who she is. "We'll find a safe place for her. Far away from here and from us. Somewhere she'll never have to look over her shoulder and worry." His own voice breaks as he says that, but it seems to comfort Fi. Her sobs slow, draining off into quiet tears.

They spent the rest of the night that way, talking and crying, quietly, about the baby they have to give up, the child they'll never know.

The next morning, Fi got out of bed, and actually ate.


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