TITLE: Hold Tight a Little Longer
RATING: PG-13, for cussin'.
FANDOM: STD, HSAU
And thanks to Bubbles and Emmy for helping it not suck.
Tony ghosted a hand over the taut skin of his wife's stomach.
Wife. That still took his breath away sometimes, that this beautiful woman in the bed next to him was actually married to him and in love with him and pregnant with their first child. He'd never seen her more beautiful.
She stirred in her sleep, stretching and making some kind of entirely-too-cute sleepy noise. "You leaving for work?" she murmured, reaching up to run the back of her hand along his jaw.
"Not all of us have maternity leave," he grinned, laying a kiss on her palm. "So yes."
"I hate maternity leave. I should be researching. I hate that I had to leave the experiment with Charlie. I hate it." She was pouting now. She had been ordered to bed three weeks before, diagnosed with mild preeclampsia going into her seventh month. And she was going stir crazy.
"I can sit for a few minutes," he murmured, smoothing the hair off her forehead. He settled into the bed next to her, pulling her close and making comforting noises. "But mother is making breakfast, I can hear her."
Tony's mom, Mari, had come to town to take care of Caroline, and was mostly succeeding at driving her up the wall. "Mmm, bland eggs and no bacon! Oh, and caffeine free tea. It's the worst torture-" Caroline grinned, and Tony captured her mouth in a kiss before she could get started.
"You can't have salt or caffeine, little troublemaker, and she's being awesome being here with you. Now," he stood, smoothing out his uniform. "I have to kick some cadets into line, and you have to get some more rest."
"Kiki is coming over today. And Chrissie. Around noon. They're going to sneak me some meatloaf or something."
"No they're not," a voice called from the door, as Mari entered carrying a breakfast tray. "You are sticking to your diet. For my granddaughter."
"Don't leave me with her, Tony," Caroline whined playfully. "She won't accept that I'm having a boy and she put something green in the eggs and-"
He cut her off with another kiss. "And you're tired of being in bed, I know. But this is the beginning of your eighth month, and Dr. Boyce says he can induce you soon. You're almost there."
Caroline snorted and took the tray Mari was offering. "And I'm fat, Tony. I don't like being fat."
He laughed and took her face between his hands. "You're not fat. You're pregnant. You're beautiful and perfect and seriously, Caroline. You've never been sexier. Now. Be good. I'll be home at 3. And I promise that just as soon as you can have junk food again, I will drown you in bacon and let you eat your way out."
Caroline made a face at him and, laughing, he kissed her gently. "Have fun with Sulu and Chapel."
"I will," she told him, stealing one more kiss. "Bring me home a bottle of whiskey and a pizza and some peanut butter fudge?"
"No," he laughed, grabbing his jacket from the back of a chair and beating a hasty retreat.
Kiki and Chrissie showed as promised, and joyfully handed over their contraband nachos.
Mari's angry scolding floated up to Caroline, and she was still laughing as Hikaru and a slightly pregnant version of Christine slid into her room.
"Your mother-in-law is terrifying," Hikaru muttered, kissing Caroline on the forehead. Christine nodded and sunk into the armchair by the bed. "Also, why did she say we were trying to kill her granddaughter? Aren't you having a boy?"
Caroline giggled. "Mari doesn't put stock in 'newfangled technology.' She just knows we're having a girl." The three laughed good-naturedly, and Caroline reached out for Christine's hand. "And how are you doing? 5 months?"
Christine nodded and ran her hand over her new bump. Caroline thought, not for the first time, that Christine looked so natural pregnant. She felt like she might tip over when she stood, like she'd become a beach ball with arms and legs, but Christine looked like a person who might just have a baby inside of her.
"Did you have nosebleeds? I have a lot of nosebleeds," Chrstine asked, and Hikaru pulled a face.
Caroline was only pregnant because she had been asked to be Sulu and Chekov's surrogate. Unknown to her, poorly timed sex with Tony had meant that by the time they went in for their first appointment, she was already 6 weeks along. Christine, when she heard the news, decided she would also start trying, and Hikaru and Pavel's second choice, Susan, followed shortly after. They had always planned to raise kids together, and now it was happening.
"I bet Susan has nosebleeds," Carrie taunted. "And constipation and VAGINAL DISCHARGE!" The last words were accompanied with a somewhat comical grab at Hikaru's crotch, which he skittered away from. The three laughed, drowning out the sound of footsteps racing up the stairs, so they were startled when Mari's head peaked into the room.
"Do you need a sanitary napkin, dear? I heard you shout."
This time the laughter went on for a long while.
Tony returned to find Caroline out of bed, sitting quietly on the sofa and reading.
"Hi," he whispered, kissing her neck and laying a hand on her stomach. He couldn't get enough of touching it, feeling how her body had changed. "Bed rest" had equated to "no sex" as per Doctor Boyce, but Tony was content to just touch her. "How was your day?"
Caroline snorted derisively. "Admiral Giotto in there," she gestured vaguely to the kitchen, "confiscated my nachos and tried to make me eat cottage cheese. Cottage Cheese. And," she glanced around, "Chrissie thinks I should take up scrapbooking."
Tony laughed and kissed his wife again, moving to sit next to her on the sofa. "I think the first time you have to buy a 5-credit sticker of a q-tip you would set the place on fire."
When Mari checked in on them an hour later, Tony was still in his instructor grays, and he and Caroline were chatting quietly about the life they were about to have. She smiled and closed the door.
The real trouble, as they'd describe it later, began that night.
Caroline began feeling crappy after dinner, complaining of cramps and a headache.
Tony accompanied her to bed, rubbing her back and saying gentle words.
Around 2am, he work to movement. It wasn't her normal "someone-strapped-thirty-pounds-to-my-fr
"Caroline?" he asked, grabbing her shoulders gently. When she didn't answer or stop moving, he called the lights on.
It was almost slow-motion. Her head lolled grotesquely, mouth agape. Her limbs were twitching frantically and, he knew from Boyce, she wasn't breathing. Eclamptic seizure, he thought, freezing for a moment. If left untreated, it kills both the mother and the fetus.
Overcoming his initial horror, Tony grabbed his wife and lifted her, calling for his mother as he ran.
"She's having a seizure," he shouted, grabbing for his keys. "Call Boyce and tell him we're coming."
Mari nodded and sprinted for the phone, as Tony gently placed Caroline into the car.
The drive to the hospital was harrowing in every way. Tony, normally a sane driver, was breaking every law he could find to get Caroline - and their son, oh shit, their son - there as fast as he could.
Because of Mari's call, there were people waiting at the ER when they pulled up. Hands opened the door and took Caroline, loading her onto a gurney. He was halfway out of the car after her when a familiar voice called his name.
There was only one person who ever sounded that annoyed while saying his full name.
"I'm on shift," she told him, laying a hand on his arm. "Me and McCoy. Remember McCoy?"
He gave her a blank look as Caroline's gurney turned a corner inside and he lost sight of her.
"No, Antonio. Go park. He's got her, I'll be assisting. We're. We'll take care of her. If it's an eclamptic seizure, we'll deliver the baby and they'll both be fine."
"She's only 33 weeks-"
"She will be fine. Now, Commander, go park your vehicle and report to the nurses' station. Got it?"
He felt his Fleet training taking over, and he climbed beck into his car. Before he could come up with a reason why her idea was stupid and why he was marching into that hospital, she was gone, trailing after Caroline's gurney, and he resigned himself to always being willing to obey strong women.
Sulu and Chekov showed up fifteen minutes into the surgery.
"How is she?" Sulu asked, dispatching Chekov to get coffee.
"What did you give her?" Tony demanded, jumping to his feet.
"You gave her something. Something that caused this. You knew! You knew she couldn't have--"
The fist caught him across the jaw, and only then did he realize that his eyes had been closed while he yelled.
Without a thought, he lashed out at Sulu, who used his damn fencing skills to duck.
"You hit me again, kid, and I will break your arm." Tony's voice was cold now, and dangerous.
"We're in the right place for it."
Tony grabbed Sulu's collar and slammed him into the wall.
"What did you give me wife?" The emotion caused Tony's voice to crack.
"You think I would EVER hurt Caroline?" Sulu shouted, the vein on his forehead popping a little. "You think I would be dumb enough to HURT her?"
"Did. You. Bring. My. Wife. Food?" Tony hissed through clenched teeth.
"Yes, but we gave it to your mother willingly. We know better," Sulu growled, as Chekov came around the corner with three cups of coffee.
"Coffee!" Chekov announced, his faux-cheery voice filling the hallway. "Chopper, I brought you seven sugars and five creams, yes? Please put my husband down, Caroline will be fine."
"How do you know that?" Tony demanded, but loosed his grip on Sulu.
"Because it has been hundreds of years since the discovery of eclampsia. We treat women with it every day. The baby is at more risk, having probably suffered from bradycardia, but I do not hear any alarms from in there. The delivery will proceed smoothly, Chopper, and you will have a wife and a little boy. Now drink your coffee."
Tony glared, but sipped at the liquid. It wasn't until his vision began to blur that he thought how strange it was that Chekov brought him coffee.
"You little shit," he growled, fighting as hard as he could against the sedatives. "You drugged me."
"You will thank me later," Chekov told him, and the last thing Tony thought before he lost consciousness was how much he wanted to smash that smirk right off his face.
He felt coherence returning to him around the same time he heard Caroline's voice. She was singing, a song he had heard her hum around the house.
So kiss a little longer
Stay close a little longer
Hold tight a little longer
Longer with Big Red!
That Big Red freshness lasts right through it
Your fresh breath goes on and on while you chew it
Say goodbye a little longer
Make it last a little longer
Give your breath long lasting freshness with Big Red!
There was a girlish giggle from nearby. He groaned.
"Daddy?" The gigglevoice. Lucy. Lucy was here. He was dead and in heaven.
"Wake up, Daddy. Come meet Calvin." Dead, heaven, uncomfortable plastic chairs. He was in a hospital room.
"How did I get here?"
"Sulu carried you."
"I'm here, Tony. I'm fine."
"Caroline, were you singing our son the Big Red song?"
"Would you rather I sang him High School Musical? He might turn out like Kiki."
He paused long enough to wrench his eyes open and see the grin on her face. "No, you know I prefer Doublemint."
The laughter between them was sweet and loud. Calvin began to laugh with them.
"Is that him?" Tony asked, stretching his arms out towards his son. "Is that Calvin Pietro?"
Caroline nodded and handed the baby to Lucy, who cooed over him as she brought him to his father.
"Hey, little guy," Tony whispered, gazing down at is son. He felt his throat tighten, the tears prick at the insides of his eyes. Gently he stood and, handing the baby back to Caroline, climbed into bed with her as Lucy made a clandestine exit.
"We're parents," Caroline grinned, and Tony wrapped his arms around her and the baby.
"I love you," he told her. "Both of you."
"You just met him," she said, making a face.
"Yeah, well, he looks like his mom. I have to love him."
Caroline smiled and relaxed into her husband's arms. "I'm sorry if I scared you."
"Not your fault. I'm just glad you're okay. I was so worried about you."
"I knew you would be. That's why I told Chekov to drug you."
He sat up suddenly. "You what?"
"Oh, relax. There was a chance this would happen. So I made a deal that if it did, they'd drug you. So you wouldn't worry."
"You are a dangerous woman," he told her, leaning over to kiss her cheek, and then the top of Calvin's head, as he stared at them with his sleepy brown eyes.
Sulu snuck in with Christine a few minutes later.
"We saw Lucy leave. She had to get back to the lab. But she says he's the cutest sibling she has," Cristine told them, reaching down to take the now-sleeping baby from Caroline's arms. "But I have to take him back to the nursery. Say bye, mommy," gently, she took the baby's hand and waved goodbye to his parents. "Bye, daddy. I'll be back!"
As Christine left, Hikaru offered Tony his hand. "Sorry about hitting you."
"Yeah," Tony nodded. "Sorry about the accusations. I know-- I know you wouldn't hurt her, okay?"
Hikaru laughed, and pulled Tony up to his feet before losing all composure and just hugging him. "Congratulations, Tony."
Caroline rolled her eyes. "God, if I knew it would have made you two LIKE each other, I'd have gotten you to throw punches long ago."
Hikaru stuck out his tongue. "Yeah, yeah. Shut up."
"You two," the new mother grinned, "have to do me a favor, okay?"
"Anything," Tony said, sitting on the edge of her bed.
"Get the fuck out of here and go have a beer!" Caroline ordered, pointing towards the door. "Go celebrate my son. Our son. And, Kiki, your godson. If you want?"
Hikaru blushed and slung an arm around Tony's shoulder. "That okay with you, Mr. G?"
Tony nodded. "But I think we should drink on it, don't you?"
"Oh, no doubt."
Caroline laughed as her boys kissed her in turn, and left her to drift to sleep. It had been a hell of a day, she thought, and there were a lot more coming.