He sighs, staring at the still figure in the bed. She is not as he once remembers her. Tall, beautiful, smiling, happy. Now, she's miserable. Groaning on the bed, writhing in pain and clutching her stomach, just below her belly button, her body twisted at an odd angle. He wishes there was something he could do. Some way to make her stop crying and screaming. She's hurting. He has to go to her. But now there is nothing he can do. The man beside her bed looks up, shaking his head. Not much time left. He bites his thumbnail, a nervous habit she would always chide him for. Now, though, she simply gives a small shout, eyes staring ahead of her, no comprehension in them. It's painful to watch. So he pushes the doctor away, sitting in the chair and stroking her hand. There is no consolation in the touch. Only empty comfort. Opera music plays somewhere nearby. Softly. Almost as if the voice of the singer is both teasing her and soothing her.
"'Nessun Dorma,'" he mutters, the name of the song flittering through his mind. Where had that damn song come from? Sounded familiar. Couldn't remember. Instead, he squeezes her hand, gently, reassuringly. She does not squeeze back. Her energy is elsewhere. And even then, she barely has any left. Once, long ago, they had spoken of this day.
"What would you say?" she had asked him, bright eyes glittering in the morning light as they lay in bed, the afterglow of sex still lingering in the air.
"Say? I dunno. What kind of question is that?" he had furrowed his brow, sliding his arm to a better position beneath her shoulders. She pouted, crossing her arms across her chest, just beneath her breasts.
"Then it wouldn't be a big deal to you?" she shot, her voice bitter. He'd mentally kicked himself, pulling her closer to him and kissing the top of his head.
"I'd cry. I don't think there are any words for it. I would cry," he muttered into her hair and she sighed, snuggling contentedly into his arms. And that had been the end of it. He could never have guessed that, only one year after their conversation, he would be faced with this kind of situation.
Now he lay his head on the pillow beside her, shutting his eyes tight against her wails of agony. Couldn't they give her something to help the pain? The doctor had told him no. It was almost over. She wouldn't feel anything but peace once this was finished. He feels a lump grow in his throat as her cries grow. The doctor no longer stands beside him at the bed. Where had he gone? Didn't matter.
"Almost," the doctor announces, softly, from somewhere in the room. Almost? Almost? What the hell was that supposed to do? She was still hurting. It couldn't have been over yet. She lets out a long scream, her body lifting from the bed as her muscles contract again, painfully, her hand tightening on his to the point of snapping bones. He bites his lower lip, holding back a scream of his own. No complaining. He couldn't possibly be hurting as bad as her.
Then there is another scream in the room. A tiny, high-pitched cry. Not painful. Not sad. But there. Crying because it could. Because there was nothing stopping it from breathing. His wife collapses back against the pillows, panting, eyes rolling back in her head momentarily.
"It's a boy," a voice announces from between her legs and a small, red figure is held up to them. Two pairs of eyes glue to the tiny creature, both sobbing, both smiling. The boy is handed to his mother, still screaming until he hears the soft sound of her rapid heartbeat, her arms wrapping around his shriveled body.
"I told you I would cry," her husband whispers through his tears, kissing first his wife's head, then his son's. She laughs, happily, her thumb tracing the small child's features.
"My baby boys," she teases, leaning her head against her husband's shoulder.