The depressed optimist (lizparker6) wrote in everbeentobaja,
The depressed optimist
lizparker6
everbeentobaja

The baby Basket (Michael/Sara one-piece)

Title: The Baby Basket
Characters: Michael Scofield, Sara Tancredi
Pairing: Michael/Sara
Word Count: approx. 6000 words
Rating: R (heavy language and mentions of violence)
Genre: Het, Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Non-Epilogue-Compliant, future fic

 

Summary: “Don’t worry, we won’t hit the baby basket.” It’s been three months since their escape from Dade Penitentiary in Miami, but those words were still haunting her sleep…

 

AN: This story has been sitting on my drive for ages…actually, since august 2009 (!!!), and I am only now finally posting it. Well, suits me. Also, please note that it’s been written with a lot of drama and fresh thoughts right after the shows finale and my dissatisfaction with the ending as well as all the loose ends and conversations I thought should have happened, so again, beware of Aww all that drama! (a.k.a potential cheesiness or shallowness)

That said, enjoy.

 

 

The Baby Basket

 

 

“Don’t worry, we won’t hit the baby basket.”

 

It’s been three months since their escape from Dade Penitentiary in Miami, but those words were still haunting her sleep, leaving her sobbing and crying in Michael’s arms, though always refusing to tell him the substance of her nightmare. It was not a mere memory she was dreaming and reliving over and over again. If it was a sheer memory, she would know they’d purposely miss, wouldn’t hit and take away the most precious gift she ever received from her.

 

In these nightmares however, they never missed, hitting and kicking her stomach until she nearly died of the excruciating pain in her womb, her own blood drenching her slacks, the ground underneath her turning crimson red. And when they finally called the doctor – damn, she was a doctor – it wasn’t necessary anymore. She already knew it was too late for her child to be saved.

 

And as always it was the same as any other night, except maybe, that this dream actually felt more vivid than any other time she dreamt it before. She woke from her nightmare with a start, a painful cry leaving her lips. Moaning with woe and still under the influence of the heavy dream, not yet fully in the land of waking nor in dreamland anymore, she didn’t notice Michael’s body shoot upwards into a sitting position as well. Only when he tried to wrap his arms around her in a soothing manner did she realize she was not alone. It didn’t do any help however. Still under the influence of her own imagination, she pushed him away violently, shouting to leave her alone while her hands grabbed handfuls of the bedding, lifting and throwing it away.

 

As if burned, Michael only watched helplessly. He knew this particular scene all too well, yet it still managed to pain him by his inability to help or soothe her in any way. The phase of comfort always came much later, only after she calmed down enough to fully comprehend her surroundings, once she reassured herself that what it was she was dreaming about wasn’t real.

 

The covers fell in a pile on the ground next to the bed as Sara’s eyes frantically searched in the darkness of the night for any proof her dream was real, her hands touching and probing her sleepwear and underpants for moisture, any feel or smell of blood on the sheets or her.

 

There was none.

 

Sobbing and still not reassured enough, she threw her legs quickly over the side of the bed, ignoring Michael completely in the process. And before he even had the time to turn on the bedside lamp, she’s already disappeared into the bathroom.

 

It took five minutes until he heard her crying grow louder, moaning in despair and fright but also from relief that it was all just a dream, and this was always the signal for Michael to leave the sanctuary of their bed and join her, offering comfort which she had denied him only moments before.

 

It wasn’t all that often she had this particular dream, this being only the fourth or fifth time since they sailed off, leaving Miami and everything connected to their previous lives behind. However, it was the most powerful and unsettling one Michael knew could posses her, and it scared him tremendously every time it returned.

 

The first time it happened, he tried to force her to talk to him about it, yet she refused.

 

The second time in happened, he treaded more carefully, offering her a quiet ear to listen, trying to convince her she needed to confide in him for her own good. But she didn’t.

 

The third time, he told her he loved her, and that she could trust him with anything, begging her to confide in him with this nightmare, like she already had with all the others. Even then, she refused, begging him to stop asking, begging him not to be angry. He never was.

 

But the ominous uneasiness with which he closed his eyes every single night only seemed to deepen ever since. There was also this one more dream she was having, and somehow, to Michael it seemed like they were connected. But he was forbidden to learn the truth about that one as well.

 

So ever since the last time, Michael stopped asking, which only left him in nothing but hoping that one day, she would find the courage to confide in him at last. What he feared most was he wouldn’t be able to help her once she did.

 

Opening the door slowly and soundlessly, he entered the space carefully, his eyes finding Sara immediately in her usual spot. Huddled on the floor near the toilet, she had her knees drawn to her chest, her arms hugging herself tightly, her head resting on top of them as the sobs kept ragging through her body.

 

The floor was cool and Michael didn’t like the thought of her sitting there like that, but he has long ago learned not to press subjects as mundane as this at a time like this. Crawling down next to her, he silently brought his arms around her, drawing her shaking frame into him, hoping she could feel the warmness of his touch through her pitiful state of mind.

 

She once told him he couldn’t feel responsible for every tiny thing that ever happened to the people who mattered to him, but especially in times like this and especially with her, a huge torrent of guilty thoughts couldn’t be stopped.

 

She killed his mother to save his life and had to pay for it the highest price, serving time in a female version of Fox River. The very thought still sent shivers down his spine whenever it crossed his mind. Of course they’ve talked about it, about the attempted poisoning, about Gretchen and Daddy and the new scar disfiguring the once perfect and most delicate skin of her shoulder blade. She shared her thoughts and experience with him, but always only to some degree, always leaving Michael with the thought that there was a deeper level she refused to let him in on, whether for his or hers own sake he didn’t know.

 

He would lie if he said it didn’t hurt him, which nearly always immediately caused him to feel selfish. He knew would also lie if he said he didn’t understand. There were parts of his own suffering he hasn’t shared with her either, about Fox River, about Sona. It was as if they’ve talked about everything without disclosing anything. And he simply couldn’t understand why.

 

They loved each other, they enjoyed each other’s company and they’ve looked into the future together, happy and excited about the prospect of becoming parents soon. They exchanged favorite baby names and childhood stories and fears and misgivings.

 

And they were truly happy. Except when they weren’t, when once in a while, mostly during their most vulnerable state of mind while dreaming, the ghosts of the past wouldn’t leave them alone. A memory, a bad foreboding, an altered experience, they all triggered a reaction that was far off from any normal anxieties of a young couple expecting.

 

They always made a point to return to sleep only when both of them were feeling better and reassured by the other.  So together, they could wake up with the promise of a new day being once again bright and unbothered. And most of the time, it truly worked.

 

It definitely wasn’t all bad times, the three month of calm and quiet time spent with Michael on board of their ship brought its fruit for Sara. She was more relaxed, smiled a lot, made jokes about Michael’s pregnancy obsession and read baby books along with him. She was looking into the future with more optimistic eyes each and every new day, and this had the very same effect on Michael as well. But where some of their nightmares lessened, some seemed to grip them tighter. And it seemed like whenever they’ve felt like they had really finally crossed the invisible line between darkness and twilight, the night claimed them back again.

 

Today, Michael decided to put a stop to this. He would not have his life and the lives of his wife and unborn child being destroyed by an invisible hand of imagination. Fear weighed nothing, it was only air, Lincoln has taught him that much a long time ago. And Michael decided he would air out the aura of premonition tonight once and for all.

     

Bringing his lips to her ear, he said in a resolute, fierce whisper.

 

“I know it’s the same dream. And I know it has something to do with the baby. Whatever it is, however, it’s not real. You and the baby are far away from Dade, safe, with me. And you know I will do anything to keep the two of you safe. So will Lincoln, or Sucre, or Alex, if they have to. No one will come within reach of you unless I let them, and God knows I am a mistrustful and possessive guy. And I won’t let anyone - anyone - Sara, come between us again. It’s been settled, the company business, our sentences, even my mother’s death as self defense by Kellerman. You know that, deep down, you know there is nothing they can throw our way anymore, nothing. We are far away from all that crap, we’re free and we are starting a family of our own. They can stay where they are and eat each other alive for all I care, because by then, we’ll be unreachably far away and living a beautiful life of our own. We left everything behind, everything. The nightmares…” his voice broke a little, “they’re just nasty but harmless reflections of what we left behind. And if we want, we don’t have to ever look back. Now come to bed, and tell me, please, tell me about these horrible dreams that won’t let you have your sleep and rest.”

 

By the time he finished the heated rush of warm breath into her ear, she stopped shivering. And to his surprise, she stopped crying as well. Her hands moved slowly, almost uneasily, around his neck. Pressing her lips to his neck, she whispered back in a hoarse tone, her face hiding deep in the crook of his neck.

 

“Carry me back?” she asked in an innocent, slightly embarrassed tone.

 

In spite the graveness of the situation, he had to smile to himself. Pulling her from the ground easily, he stumbled to his slightly frozen feet before carrying his double pack of joy to the bed.

 

“Okay, but only this one time,” he told her jokingly, hoping she would catch on the tone that always seemed to help to break the ice in situations like these.

She did. He felt the ghost of her lips curl into a tiny smile against his neck, the warm air of her breath hitting his skin, gliding over him like a warm summer breeze and leaving goose bumps in its wake.

 

“I remember you promising me you would spoil me until the end of our days,” Sara quipped back, a tint of playfulness coating her voice, and Michael’s heart leapt at the change of mood. It came twice as quickly as all those other times they’ve experienced this situation, and it left his heart feeling more hopeful for a nightmare-less future that ever before.

 

“You cannot believe everything I tell you Sara, you know that, I am an ex-con,” he shot back feigning disbelief despite being deeply amused. His grin only grew when he felt her slap his back audibly with her palm.

 

“I guess I will have to ask Lincoln for the favor, then,” she replied with a dramatic sigh just as Michael lowered her on the bed.

 

“You may try that,” he said with a smug grin, “but I assure you, it’s a settled rule for Lincoln to always carry a lady to bed only over his shoulder and no other way.” Watching her pull a face, he joined her on the bed, curling on his side to watch her. She noticed the shift in him as his face grew more serious again.

 

“Tell me.” He simply said, his hand coming to rest on her slightly swollen stomach. He saw her hesitate, all the previous amusement gone.

 

“Please Sara, I beg you, tell me.” She was only looking at him non-commitaly, all the light and spark he loved so much disappearing from her eyes. He tried harder, deep down knowing he was being unfair by pushing her this way. “It’s killing me not to know what’s plaguing your dreams over and over again…” he said urgently while watching her close her eyes as his hand kept caressing her abdomen lovingly, “…and those of our child as well.”

 

He could see he hit a nerve, something shifting in Sara’s silent chocolate pools, yet still, she kept mum, seeming to close off even tighter. He gave a defeated sigh but didn’t withdraw from her.

 

“Okay,” he uttered at last, a deep and heavy rush of disappointment leaving his lungs. “You don’t have to. I’m sorry I tried to force you.” He dropped the subject, returning his attention back to her and her growing belly. Slowly he moved on the bed, coming to a stop on the same level as her middle and resting his face against her stomach. He locked his eyes with Sara’s for a moment before closing them again, concentrating his thoughts on what was lying underneath those layers of skin and human tissue.

 

A new life they’ve created amongst the mayhem of tears and blood and death; something wonderful and unique that was going to become just the perfect mixture of the both of them, Michael was sure of that. He still couldn’t quite believe it. There’s been so little time, so little space, and yet this tiny life made a decision on its own, demanding to be born. He let himself go, pushing his always present rational thoughts to the recesses of his conscious mind, something he could only do, he discovered not long ago, only when he was around Sara.

 

“Hey there, little buddy…or my sweet little baby girl,” he said, moving his head to the side to be able to kiss the skin of Sara’s belly, the only barrier keeping him separated from the dream to be born in less than twenty weeks.

 

“Mommy was having bad dreams again, but I think I managed to calm her down a bit, so you and her can get some sleep again.” Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Sara smile. He knew she found it silly when he talked to her stomach like this, especially so early in her pregnancy, but he didn’t care, because he knew it made her laugh at his foolishness and so it was always worth it. Plus, he suspected she might enjoy it way more than she would ever admit, as did he.

 

He decided to push the foolishness even further.

 

“So keep being a good baby, make yourself comfortable, and sleep tight. I can assure that you are in the best hands, I mean tummy, available. I would trade places with you immediately if I had the chance, trust me,” he said in a funny voice and got his wished reaction. Sara let out a throaty laugh, giving the top of his head a soft smack.

 

“Michael, stop it! You are making a complete ass of yourself!”

 

“And you love me for it, don’t you?” he replied with a smug grin. Her hands came to rest on the sides of his face, playing with his ears lovingly. 

 

“I love you for a lot of things.” She said in a deep voice, her tone very soft and eyes gentle as they connected with his over her growing bump. He only grinned, deciding to continue his antics for a little longer.

 

“Still, I really think this baby won the first prize.” He said, putting on his best smartarse face, “They have a nice, comfy apartment all to themselves, three hot meals a day – or more when you have a cravings or get a sweet-tooth - they get to run around naked and sleep all day if they wish, they’ve got air conditioning, heating and warm water, and a whole pool for themselves.” He continued, his fingers little circling over the curve of her belly, “ Plus, they get stroked and talked to by you all day long that even I don’t get so much attention,” at this point, Sara was chuckling lightly, “and the cherry on top - their daddy tells them how much he loves them every single day.“ He brought his lips to hover less than an inch over her stomach, whispering, “I love you, little monkey,” before he pressed a soft kiss right into the middle, “What more is there to wish for?” He directed his gaze back at Sara, who said nothing but looked at him lovingly, a small smile quickly spreading through her face.

 

“A nice, warm, comfy basket you women got there, I’ve gotta tell you,” concluded Michael admiringly, a soft smile playing on his lips.

 

To his horror, Sara’s face froze in shock at his last words, all color visibly draining from her face, even in the shadow of the night. She gave a deep gasp, quickly and unexpectedly firmly pushing him away and off of her as she brought her hands to hug herself as if pain, her body contorting and curling into a tight ball, turning her back to face him.

 

Michael’s shock at the sudden change of mood was like a slap in the face. He had no idea what he said that could have upset her this much, but his words must have been of great importance to her.

 

Copying the form of her body and spooning her from behind, he drew her close with one of his hands, while the other came to stroke her hair, pulling it away from her neck and face.

 

“What is it, Sara? Why did my words upset you this much?”

 

Finally, after a couple of agonizingly long moments, he felt her stir a little. She wasn’t crying, but she looked as if she was in pain, the cramped and unnatural position of her body telling Michael she wasn’t alright. Raw panic gripped him.

 

“Are you feeling alright? Are you sick?” he asked urgently, fear rising in his voice. “Please, just talk to me,” he demanded. 

 

“No, I am not sick…” she finally said through taking gulps of air, her answer coming out choked and unnatural. “I am not sick…physically.”

 

“Sara, this is not okay anymore, it is actually hurting you. So whatever bothers you, you need to tell me, and you better tell me now,” he said visibly upset, the demand in his voice bordering on a direct command and Sara knew her time to hide the truth was up. This was a one time opportunity to tell him what’s been bothering her in the past few months, but voicing it seemed a far more difficult task than she though. She took a couple a moments to simply breathe, counting to ten and back several times before she found the strength to talk again.

 

“It’s about Dade … something that … happened there.” She could feel him freeze, then his hand came to grip her own nearly painfully.

 

“I am here,” Michael quietly encouraged her, his voice staying firm yet calm.

 

“When I came to Dade…the very first day…” she started at last, her voice uneasy. “There was this guard. She seemed nice, seemed to care. She knew I was pregnant and offered me another room I could stay in until the trial ended.” Sara let out a bitter bark of laughter that left Michael’s heart feel like being covered in a crust of ice. “I should have known better, that there were no nice people without hidden agendas. But the prospect of being able to escape the gen-pop, with my name and reputation left me blind to any reasoning. I was so scared Michael…” He could hear the tremble in her voice, her struggle to continue. He hugged her even closer, unable to resist the urge to press a few small, lasting kisses against the back of her neck while he waited for her to continue. “I wasn’t scared for myself, I…I truly wasn’t. After Kellerman and Gretchen and T-Bag, I knew I could survive almost anything.” Michael’s fingers started to tingle, the blood leaving them at her words, rage mixing with fear and sheer panic of loosing her again gripping at his heart at the memories her words triggered.

 

“But my situation changed considerably. I knew I was pregnant and I swear to God, I would never believe how that tiny detail can change a person’s entire thinking, but it does. I was beyond myself with fright that something might happen to the baby…and on top of that, I kept thinking…what you would say to me if I let that happen…” she couldn’t continue, the lump in her throat choking her. She couldn’t continue, her frame starting to tremble while she silently gagged at her memories and Michael was stricken with his complete inability to help her in any way, his worst fears coming true. The truth was here and he suddenly had no words to comfort her with. Breathing felt like the most difficult task at the moment, Michael thinking he might suffocate under the pressure of her words.

 

“So I…went with her, not giving…giving a fucking second thought that it might be a trap…” She only barely started talking again and yet she had to stop, her lungs on fire and out of oxygen. She used all her willpower to force herself to breathe – in and out – that she didn’t even registered the growing wetness at the back of her neck.

 

He felt so useless, so powerless. He knew about her wounds, knew they came mostly by the beatings from the guards, but having her explain it to him through her own eyes and in such detail, it was more than a little overwhelming to him, his own mind speeding with images of most horrendous nature. Somehow, even through this, he managed to close all remaining space between them, literally gluing and melting into her skin. His hand, once again, came to rest upon her stomach, possessively, protectively. To his surprise, she grasped it, covering it with hers, and intertwining their fingers, she clutched to him and her stomach with a fierce grip of a drowning woman.

 

“There was about six of them…” she continued after several long moments at last, her voice a bear echo of its usual strength. “The guards…they said they knew my name, said I was responsible for their colleagues’ misfortune,” she stopped for a moment, breathing through the wild thumps of her heart. “The last thing I remember was them saying they would try not to hit ‘the baby basket’…” Trailing off, she buried her face into her pillow, the horror of what might have happened that day finally spilling through and she had to actually bite down onto the pillow as not to cry out in woe.

 

The chill running through Michael’s bones at her previous words was nothing to the horrification when he finally understood. Remembering his previous words with an accuracy only his LLI could provide, his joyous jesting about her pregnancy now seemed like a sick joke and he wanted nothing more than to take the words back. That or run his useless head against the nearest wall.

 

Of course, he could do neither. And he also knew he couldn’t have known in the first place. But that didn’t take away the feeling of enormous responsibility – for everything that ever happened to her since he entered her life. The only silver lining to this horrible situation – if there really was any – was that this last drop seemed to push Sara to talk to him at last.

 

His fingers felt cold and numb as he tried to glide them over her hair and neck, the movements oddly feeling unnatural and strange. He felt like a fraud, trying to take away pain he himself had inflicted.

 

He suspected that what’s been plaguing her dreams must be heavy yet he was caught completely unprepared for a confession like this. The feeling of being a failure to her only seemed to deepen. In a sick, twisted way, Sara’s been forced to accept being beaten down in exchange for their baby’s safety. He didn’t know how he ever could make this right.  

 

And it seemed this was not the end of the story. After a couple moments of lungful breaths, Sara continued with the rest of her tale which was nearly as bad as what actually happened to her in Dade and how her dreams weren’t haunted by the actual happenings but more by the twisted dream exploiting her horrid memories.

 

These were nightmares of the worst kind, in which she was always left lying on the cold ground of Dade penitentiary, bleeding out from a miscarriage, helpless, exposed and sneered at by the attacker guards. Of the long time they always seemed to take in calling for help, of how she literally felt her child dying inside of her, over and over again, and how the excruciating pain was nearly nothing compared to the grief she felt in her heart. Then came the doctor. Bending over her helpless bloody form he coldly and emotionlessly delivered the diagnose, the clinical way in which he said how sorry he was to tell her she ‘miscarried’ sickening her even further as she was being lifted out from her own pool of blood.

 

In the end, Sara spilled out everything. She explained how each time she woke from the dream, she would first search the sheets for blood, obsessive-compulsive in her need to check - every single time - if her nightmare wasn’t real; if not for anything else than for the stress and fright and grief she was forced to go through each time.

 

The entire time, Michael didn’t do or say anything, unable to act any differently but to listen. For once, he was overcome by emotions so raw, so undefinable and strong that he wasn’t able to handle them. He was slightly trembling from head to toe without even noticing it, the picture of a helpless, hurting and bleeding Sara appearing in his mind’s eye over and over again.

 

He would lie if he said his mind wasn’t attacked by this particular scenario back when he was working on his plans to free her, yet he wouldn’t allow his worries to formulate into actual images back then, he couldn’t afford it. But here and now, lying in the darkness with a vulnerable and terrified Sara, the prospect of how close he came to losing her, losing them both, felt never more real.

 

For a second, he didn’t know what to do with himself, how to move his limbs that felt cold and numb. The hand that previously rested over her stomach withdrew slightly in the course of the past few minutes, trembling over the flesh of his own thigh. It suddenly felt wrong to touch her, as if the horrible images running through his head could harm her in some way.

 

They lay there in silence for seconds, then minutes. Neither said anything, Sara gazing into space, Michael still petrified with his visions. Only too late did he realize he hadn’t as much as said he was sorry, tried to comfort her or even touch her, when she was apparently in so much need of emotional support.

 

Shaking from his catatonic state, he tried to focus on his wife instead. She was laying still, silent tears occasionally sliding down her cheeks to disappear in the softness of her cushion.

 

With his fingers truly cold now, he brought his hand to the top of her head, caressing her soft crown and then resting his fingers against her burning forehead. Silently hushing into her ear in a soft whisper, his fingers started to move and caress the side of her head, neck and face before his mouth replaced the spots the fingers have just left.

 

“I know there isn’t anything I can say that can take these memories away, nor anything that can stop the dreams from coming. But no matter what those women did to you, you were strong enough to survive it. All of it. You protected our baby better than any person ever could, and I couldn’t be more grateful and more proud of you. What you did back then … It’s more than I could ever have asked or expected of you. And the only thing I can think about telling you now is so painfully inadequate but….thank you, Sara.”

 

Another silent tear ran down her cheek. Michael brought his lips closer to her ear for the sheer fear his voice would be so quiet she wouldn’t hear him. 

 

“And I have a confession to make. I never told you this, but when Beau told me you were poisoned and escaped death only inches away, I nearly lost it right there. I didn’t believe a word anybody ever said anymore, and I needed to know for sure. I still wasn’t allowed to see you at that time and that nearly killed me, the insecurity, the fear, my inability to see for myself what I’d been told, that you were alright,” he nearly gagged at the last word, “Not being able to do anything else about the situation but knowing where the order must have come from, I went straight for the male wing to visit Kranz.”

 

At his words, Sara turned in his arms abruptly, looking at him with huge confused eyes still glassed over by the remnants of her tears. He merely stared back, the blue of his eyes a blank sheet painted with sorrow.

 

“I asked him to leave you alone, I’d do anything if only he left you and our baby alone.” At this moment, he averted his eyes in shame. “I didn’t realize he didn’t know about…about you being pregnant. And I literally gave him the biggest weapon against me right into his waiting hands.”

 

The pressure of the guilt was so unbearable now that he momentarily wasn’t able to continue. He gazed into the darkness somewhere behind her, losing himself in the blackness of the wall, his eyes shining dark in the dim light. Only when he felt a pair of the gentlest hands he’d ever known cupping his face, did he dare to look down and face her, seeking forgiveness and redemption he knew he didn’t deserve.

 

For the moment being, instead of voicing her thoughts, she talked to him through her eyes. The compassion and affection she felt for him was undeniable and crushing, so much he didn’t even notice her face closing in on him. Only once her lips touched his in a soft, gentle caress did he appear to have woken from the dark fog clouding his mind. After a series of small loving kisses, Sara withdrew her face an inch, her eyes steadily gazing into his inquiringly, shining with a soft glow of understanding.

 

“Is that why you were so insistent on me having a complete and thorough medical check-up the minute we anchored in the first oversees town, no matter what the cost?”

 

His silence confirmed her suspicions, his eyes again shying away from hers. Her grip on his face merely tightened.

 

“Is that why you…” she stopped for a second, unsure about her next words before deciding to continue, “…why you‘re so reluctant to touch me more intimately ever since we left the States?” He kept silent as the realization finally dawned upon her.

 

“You‘ve been scared you would hurt me or the baby,” she uttered quietly in a statement, her lashes wincing as the realization hit her full force. He didn’t look at her but his miserable expression and escaping eyes were all the evidence she needed.

 

“Oh Michael,” she whispered in a pained voice, “Why didn’t you tell me?” 

 

It took him a couple of moments to look at her. “You had so much on your plate already, I wouldn’t want to burden you with my fears as well,” he said quietly, his eyes shimmering in the dark.

 

She gazed into his eyes for a couple more moments before she sighed, moving down to press hard against his side, resting her face in the crook of his neck. Her abrupt closeness seemed to have broken the barriers. His hands encircled her waist, one coming up to cradle her head, the other to rest against her belly again. She made sure to keep it there by covering it with her own.

 

“Are you afraid of losing the baby now?” Michael asked all of a sudden into the darkness, his voice ripping the silence like a slash of a whip. Sara froze for a moment then seemed to relax against him once again.

 

“No. At least not when I am fully awake,” she said, squeezing his hand resting over the curve of her stomach. “Not when I am with you,” she added. “Not ever since I…”

 

“Ever since you what?” asked Michael quietly, his nose coming to nuzzle her hair. The silence stretched for a couple of seconds before Sara’s voice floated through the darkness.

 

“Ever since I…” she trailed off again, “Michael, a few days ago, I think…I think I felt the baby move for the first time.” She could feel Michael body freeze. “And I keep feeling it ever since,” she continued raising her head in order to look at him, her face shining with uneasiness as well as excited joy and wary hope. “I didn’t tell you because I wasn’t sure if I simply imaged it. But it keeps happening and I feel it more strongly and distinctly every single time.”

 

Michael’s features were simply stunned, his eyes widening into the size of two saucers. Then, his face stretched into a wide, emotional smile and he let out a deep exhalation that finished in a hearty laugh.

 

“Really?”

 

Sara nodded, producing a huge smile of her own. Michael’s hands started to roam her body in excitement, his suddenly all too eager fingers pushing up the thin material of her camisole and coming to rest against the slightly stretched skin of her bare stomach. His eyes never leaving her face, he asked: “Where?”

 

She gently took his hand, navigating his fingers to rest at the very bottom of the stretched skin, just over her hipbone.

 

“Here,” she said barely over a whisper. Then, she moved his hand again, pressing his fingers to a different spot, “and here.”

 

“How does it feel?” He asked excitedly. She gave a small smile, giving him a thoughtful look while contemplating his question.

 

“It’s a bit like a squirm, a very light flutter. It’s so subtle that sometimes, I had to think twice to know for sure if I didn’t just imagine it. But it gets stronger now,” she finished, her eyes glowing in the darkness, her voice strangely excited.

 

Instead of replying Michael kissed her, long and hard, before slowing down his attack, the kisses growing gentler, though deeper and with more love then Sara has ever felt. Withdrawing after a while, he gave a sudden deep discontented sigh that surprised Sara.

 

“It will take weeks, if not months, until I will be able to feel it too, right?” he said in an impatient and disappointed voice that reminded Sara of a pouty child. She nodded slightly, giving Michael a full smile, amused yet compassionate.

 

“I am afraid so,” she affirmed, her hand coming to cradle his scull lovingly. He gave a small angry grunt that caused a small laugh escape Sara’s lips.

 

“Well…I will have to take your word for it then,” he said, a small smile stealing over his handsome face. With a flutter in her chest, Sara realized he looked ten years younger when he smiled. She pressed her head against his chest, closing her eyes while listening to the steady rhythm of his heart.

 

They didn’t speak much that night anymore, both too exhausted and slowly being lulled back into sleep by the gentle rocking of the boat again, yet their night wasn’t disturbed by any more of the nightmares. In the course of the next months, Sara’s dreams returned for a couple of times again, yet somehow, whether it be the shared knowledge with Michael, or the ever growing counter-evidence of her progressing pregnancy, the dream gradually lost its terrifying intensity.

 

It even happened – it was a short time before she gave birth - that Sara was rescued from her dream by the kicking of her child, the movements so strong the sudden pain woke her up just before the tricky guard had the chance to lure her towards the lion’s den.

 

But it was only the day she saw her son’s perfect face for the very first time that Sara knew she would never experience her nightmare again. Looking into her husband’s proud and glowing face, his eyes were mirroring the same thought.

 

She succeeded, she conquered.

 

Against all odds, she fought and survived, giving life to a new creature, a tiny perfect being, a baby boy she created and shared with a man she loved deeply.

 

“Michael,” she firmly said with brightly shining eyes, her smile matching only that of her husband, her statement a reply to her husband’s previous question.

 

“I want to name him Michael.”

 

End

 

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