By the twelfth week, when Fi was still spending most of her time lying about feeling sick and tired, Michael had moved from starting to get worried to really worried. Officially, she's fourteen weeks pregnant. He'd read all the books his mom had brought over, and they all seemed to concur that exhaustion and morning sickness should end around the twelfth week, unless it didn't.
On Wednesday, they had the finish-up-the-first-trimester doctor's appointment, and according to Doctor Johnson everything seemed to be fine. Which Michael doubted, quite a bit. Fi's lost twelve pounds in five weeks, and he's sure women are supposed to gain weight when they're pregnant.
And she hasn't done much besides sleep in weeks.
She gets out of bed every day, but not for very long some days, and she doesn't seem very interested in much of anything. He can get little flashes of her to come out, for example: she was awfully enthusiastic about planning out how Jaydd was going to get caught by the Feds, and the night after proposing she'd seemed a lot more like herself, but for the most part she's listless and sick.
The doc says that's normal, too. Early pregnancy can cause depression, and given the circumstances with the adoption this is to be expected. If she's not feeling better soon, not that Doctor Johnson expects Fi to be frolicking about in sunshine and meadows or anything, but there's a difference between depressed and sad, they can start to talk about medication that's safe for pregnant women.
It doesn't matter if this may be within the range of normal, it scares Michael, more than he wants to admit. He's used to Fi angry, or Fi frustrated, or Fi happy. He's used to her active. Fi is fire; she's always moving and changing and shifting and doing something.
But now she's ice, slow, cold, fragile.
He doesn't like to think of her as fragile. Doesn't like to think of her sick or broken. Doesn't like to be reminding how fragile people are in general, but her in specific... Fi's supposed to be active energy.
As they got home from the doctor's, and she went back to bed, he's afraid that this might not end. Afraid that something about her is broken and can't be fixed. Afraid that this is more than just a chemical shift brought on by raging hormones and a heartbreaking choice.
He's afraid that losing this child might open a hole in her that can't be healed. He watches her sleep, and worries about it, not sure what, if anything, can be done, or how to go about even trying to find out.
Madeline showed up the next morning with a pamphlet from an adoption agency.
"I talked to Mrs. Kennedy down the street, and her daughter and son-in-law used Anderson's. They were very pleased by it, thought it was professional, that they went the extra mile to make sure everyone was happy, and that they knew what they were doing."
Mike sighs. They should be researching this. They should be making up lists and talking to people, making calls, and getting to know potential adoptive parents.
They should be, but they aren't.
It occurs to him that dragging their feet on this might be a sign of depression in both of them, or just a sign of not wanting to deal with reality. Yes, they can claim to be waiting for the first trimester and the biggest risk of a miscarriage to pass before doing anything, but they'd be lying. Not moving on this has nothing to do with possibly setting up something they might not have to do.
"Thanks, Ma. I'll give them a call later this afternoon. Set up an appointment, or however it is people do this."
"Good. And how's Fi feeling this morning?"
Fi came into the kitchen and poured herself an anti-nausea smoothie. "I don't want to jinx anything, but so far, I'm feeling pretty good this morning."
Madeline smiled. "Glad to hear it. I was telling Mi..." Her eyes caught on Fi's left hand as she lifted the glass. "What's that?"
Now it was Michael's turn to smile, genuinely glad to have something happy to tell his mom. "I took your advice and didn't wait for this one to propose to me."
This time, time doesn't slow down, and there's no yelling, and the hug doesn't come to a halt half-way completed. After a minute, when Madeline pulls away from hugging Fi, she says to Michael, "It's about time. So, when, where, tell me all about it..."
Michael looks vaguely uncomfortable. "Thursday night, in bed, and you probably don't need any more details than that."
Madeline swats Michael's arm. "Not that. Tell me about the wedding. You two have talked about it, right?"
Maddie watches the two of them looking at each other with no clear ideas in either of their minds.
"You know, the whole point of getting engaged is the idea that, at some point after, you'll make some vows about living together for the rest of your life, in front of your friends and family, and then have a big party about them."
"One step at a time, Ma."
Fi smiles at Madeline. "I do know one thing, no matter how we do this, I'd like you stand up with me."
Madeline hugs Fi again.
Jesse took the news very well. He hopped up, offering congratulations, and kissed Fi on the cheek, followed by a somewhat awkward moment of hugging Mike, a not even remotely awkward slap on the back, and a few somewhat bawdy comments.
All in all, Sam took the news pretty well, too. Of course, he was already sitting down when they told him. Not that it was too shocking; people get married all the time, and it's not like he thinks Mike and Fi are breaking up anytime in the future, but still there's something so, normal, about getting married.
And Mike and Fi aren't normal.
Married, house in the... okay it's not precisely the 'burbs, but it is a house with a backyard, kid on the way, though they aren't keeping the kid...
Maybe not normal.
So he offers the congratulations, and makes the right jokes about the idea of Fi wedding planning, and he's properly honored to be the best man, but it's still... unsettling.
He's home that night, sitting on the balcony, slowly sipping a beer, when Elsa comes in.
"Hey, beautiful. I'm out here." She comes out, slipping off her shoes, and sits in his lap. He offers her a kiss and a drink of his beer. "How was today?"
He listens to her talk about mergers, labor relations, profit loss statements, and the like. Tomorrow is her monthly report to the board, so today she's been getting all of her information ready. He likes hearing about this, likes the reminder that she's utterly competent and has a brain under those beautiful brown locks.
She takes another swig of his beer, and they both sit on the balcony watching the lights of Miami reflect off the ocean. "You're awfully quiet tonight, what's going on?"
"Nothing, really. Well, not nothing. But I'm not dodging accessory to murder, either. Might have to get my tux out of mothballs. Mike and Fi are getting married."
"Congratulations to them. This is good news."
He drinks. "Yep."
"You seem less than thrilled."
"So, what's going on?"
"I don't know. I should be happy for them, right? They're happy. And it's not like I've been secretly hoping something will happen to Mike and I'll get a shot at Fi. They're my best friends, and they love each other, and they're getting married. Happens all the time, right?"
"Yes, it does. People all over the world get married every day. There are two weddings downstairs right now."
"I know. I pulled in right about the same time as one of the brides and her seventeen bridesmaids. That was more girly fluffiness than any man should ever be exposed to."
Elsa smiles at that. "Are you afraid of being exposed to large quantities of girliness?"
"I don't think so. I mean, come on, this is Fi. I'm sure the dress and shoes will set them back a bit, but I can't imagine her agonizing over place settings or flowers. Maddie might, but not Fi."
"Afraid Mike might end up getting girly..." she thinks about that for a second, it's not the right word, "tame, if they get married?"
Tame Mike is an image that refuses to form in Sam's mind. He shakes his head.
"So, what then?"
"I wish I knew, baby."
Elsa looks at him and kisses him gently. "The road not taken?"
He shrugs. "Maybe." And maybe it is. Or maybe it's the reminder that nothing lasts forever, and that even Peter Pan eventually grew up.
She caresses his cheek. "Still plenty of time to explore new roads."
He looks at her curiously. "What do you mean by that?"
"I'll just say I'm not categorically opposed to getting married again."
"Hmmm..." He smiles at her. "Good to know."