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NEW FIC EXCERPT-WIP - BITTER - Baby birth Pt

BITTER HARVEST (Novel 3 of Nightmare trilogy) (soon to be quartet, sigh)

by Rita R. Copyright 1992-2001

 

RATING: PG-13

DISCLAIMER: A-Team belongs to Cannell and Mad Cow, yada, yada, not that I haven't tried... no profit made off of this (hardly!)

SYNOP: It's time! Maggie is about to have Hannibal's son... which throws everything and everyone in a tizzy. (I've gone ahead and put in the earlier stuff when she finds out she's pregnant, so it's not such a jolt...

 

*****************

******************

 

While cooking the breakfast eggs for Truan and herself, Maggie found herself suddenly violently nauseated and barely made it to the toilet to part with whatever was in her stomach. While washing her face, she decided she had to get this checked out. The parasite she'd picked up in the jungle was making her life miserable and it was time to send it packing. Glancing up on the bulletin board on one wall, Maggie realized she was looking at a calendar in which she noted her menses. She looked at the date of the last one she'd marked. Why that was before I left... I know I've had one since then... didn't I? She tried hard to remember, to recall whether she'd had a period sandwiched somewhere between all the stress and trauma of the trip to Asia, and realized with a start that she hadn't.

 

It had been at least three months ?? or so since the notation on the wall. Oh, lord, do you suppose? She looked down at her stomach, but it didn't look much different than normal. Well, maybe a little bloated, but she was getting over the bug she'd picked up. But then she had a startling thought. What if it isn't a bug? My God, what if I'm pregnant? She had to sit on the toilet seat for a moment as the dizzying thought overwhelmed her. Pregnant... God, what I've wanted so badly, for so long. Was it possible? Making a decision, she got up and went back to the kitchen.

 

Truan's wide eyes followed her every move. He was still having trouble with English and was terrified what he would do if she wasn't there to help him. "Doc Mom, you okay?"

 

Maggie smiled at him to encourage him. "Yes, dear. Mom fine. Mom little sick. Go see doctor."

 

Truan cocked his head to one side. "But mom is doctor."

 

Maggie had to chuckle at that one. The kid was incredibly bright and even without having known his father, seemed to share the same kind of offbeat outlook and humor. "Yes, mom is doctor. But when doctor sick, must see other doctor. Khuong?"

 

Truan nodded, fear starting to creep in on him. If she was sick, and died, who would take care of him then? He knew almost no one here, except for the uncles.

 

Maggie sensed the boy's fears and went over to cup his face in her hand. "Not to worry, Truan. Mom not bad sick, only a little, okay?" Maggie felt like an idiot at times with the baby talk, but she was impressed with how very fast this child was picking up on everything around him. When school started in a few months, she was sure he would be ready. "We go to LA, okay? Want to take drive?"

 

Truan nodded, his eyes alight. He always loved riding in her Jimmy.

 

Maggie went to the front room, picked up the phone and dialed a number. "Hi, Robby? Maggie Sullivan ... uh, Smith here. Yeah, I got married. Still getting used to the name." She chuckled as her friend made a graphic comment. "Listen, I need to get a rabbit test. Can I come down today?" Her face broke out in a wreath of smiles at the reply. "I'll be bringing my son with me... well, he's Hannibal's son, but I'm taking care of him til Hannibal gets back." Her smile turned to a frown. "No, he hasn't deserted me. It's a long story. I'll fill you in when I get there, okay? Is 3:00 available? Take me that long to get ready and get down there what with the traffic and all. It is? Good. I'll see you then." Maggie hung up the phone and then patted her tummy gently. Dear God, please let it be... let this be a baby... Hannibal's baby. Please. She got up to go and get herself and Truan ready for their new adventure.

 

*******

 

Robby Cathcart smiled at Maggie when she came out. "Well, we didn't even have to kill the rabbit. Let me be the first to congratulate you, Maggie. You're gonna be a mom." She looked at the boy Maggie had brought with her. "Uh, again?"

 

Maggie grinned, filled with joy at the news. "No, Truan's not mine. I wish he were, he's a child to be proud of. I'll tell you the story over dinner, tonight if you've got the time?"

 

Cathcart nodded; knowing the incredible saga of her friend and the handsome mercenary, she was always glad to hear the latest installment of their ongoing soap opera. "Fine. I've only got another hour to go. You want to stay over tonight at my place? Then you don't have to drive back. I can set up the couch for the kid."

 

"That's a great idea. I need someone to talk to, I think." Maggie's smiled was tempered suddenly by tears gathering in her eyes. Oh, Hannibal, I wish you were here so I could tell you. We're finally going to have a child all our own. You're the only one I want to tell and you're not here. Wiping them away, she refused to let the downside of Hannibal's absence get to her right now. I'm going to have a baby. My very own... Hannibal's ... our child.

 

***********

 

Dinner at Robby's that night had been a welcome break from her new duties as a mom. Maggie hadn't realized it would be so tiring taking care of an older child, but it still took up a lot of time and energy, especially with the language difficulty.

 

Robby shook her head sadly at the end of the tale. "And he's there for how long?"

 

"They said ten years. We're hoping it will be less... but Vietnam doesn't give paroles usually, so we just have to wait." Maggie bowed her head and looked intently at her clasped hands.

 

"Mom, may have more?" Truan interrupted her reverie with a more down-to-earth need.

 

Maggie smiled at the young boy. "Yes, Truan, it is okay to have more. No too much, though."

 

He looked at her and nodded. He was having great fun with the simple and hearty meal of spaghetti that Robby had whipped up. Noodles were something he could relate to, although the tomato sauce had him intrigued while he kept poking around, checking out the alien vegetables.

 

"You're right, he is a bright kid. This is what happened from that one clinch? I thought he was just being raped.... uh, sorry, tortured then?" Robby knew the whole story; Maggie had told her when she realized she was going to stay in Bangkok for God knew how long and had called for Robby to hold down the fort a few more weeks. "What happened to his real mother? She was a prostitute, right?"

 

"Yes, a few years ago. The take I got was that she's now a village worker, since prostitution is looked down on. Of course, popping out a blonde kid made her about as popular as the plague... and that's how the cadre found out and realized who the kid's father was. They saw a playing card that was irresistible. And Hannibal, being honorable, wouldn't let them kill the boy... he just couldn't. He'd always wanted a kid and here was one ready made, even if one with Vietnam etched in the bargain. I'm sure the irony didn't miss him. We'd been trying and hadn't gotten anywhere..." Maggie shook her head. "No, that's not right. I wanted a baby but Hannibal would never relent, wanting to protect me from the dark elements in his life. I never saw a man so religiously scrupulous with condoms in my life... drove me nuts. I kept trying to trying to trick him, get him so involved he'd forget, but Hannibal has this ferocious control thing and he never would."

 

Robby replied tartly, "Controlling, huh? Seems to be the man's middle name."

 

Maggie ignored the slur. "Initially he started wearing them after he'd been assaulted himself, since he wasn't sure what diseases he might have been exposed to. He didn't want to take a chance of passing anything on to me. But after that, his nature took over -- the control thing took over and he decided he just didn't want me pregnant, ever... period." She sighed, the melancholy unmistakable. "Yeah, I figured that out a long time ago. Doesn't bother me - I live with it. Considering all his good points, it's a small thing."

 

Robby snorted. "Yeah, his good points... uh-huh. A fugitive on the run, with a shoot-on-sight bounty on his head. He can't 'commit' to you because it wouldn't be fair to you, but he won't promise to be faithful..."

 

"He married me, didn't he? Isn't that commitment?"

 

"Yeah, then disappears again -- this time for ten years! I've heard it all before, Maggie." She shook her head. "I don't know, it just seems to me you could do so much better."

 

Maggie shook her head sadly. "I guess it depends on what you mean by 'better'."

 

Robby stamped her foot in frustration. "I mean someone who's not a criminal, who's not on the run, can stay home and take care of you for a change, instead of always showing up expecting special attention, whether it be medical or sexual. That's what I mean by better!"

 

Maggie nodded, her own wry smile creeping out. "True, but there's things you don't see, Robby."

 

"Yeah... so says the besotted woman. Sorry, Maggie, but I have seen it before too many times. He's got you right where he wants you. He crooks a finger, you go running to him. Never mind you're putting your own life in danger doing so. You think those military types would hesitate to shoot if you were between him and them? Don't you think he'll drop you like a rock if his situation ever gets better? He'll find someone new, someone young, and then where will you be?"

 

"Dammit, he married me! Doesn't that say something? Besides, there are parts to him that are so incredible I can't begin to go into it."

 

"So he's well hung. Big deal. So are a lot of other guys. Sorry, gotta do better than that, Maggie, to convince me."

 

"I'm not talking about his anatomy, dammit! It's his soul that I love. The man cares so damned much about everything and has been put into so much trouble because of it."

 

"I guess. Maybe someday I'll meet him and see just what is so special about this guy... and in the meantime,. now there's going to be a second one. Man does leave an intriguing legacy, I have to admit."

 

"He will be back, Robby, and you'll meet him and you'll understand. It's all I can say." Maggie's chin set stubbornly. This was the one area she would not back down from. She knew Hannibal would never desert her, not with the shared history they had survived.

"You know I would not say this if I didn't give a damn about you, love." Robby's eyes saddened at all the troubles her friend had earned since meeting this particular man.

 

Maggie nodded, then tried to steer the conversation back to safer ground. "When we got the news about Truan, we gave up because we figured at that point it was too late. So I accepted that the only child I would share with Hannibal would be this one, so I agreed happily to bring him home. And now I've got one of my own." Maggie raised glittering eyes to her friend. "Weird how fate works, isn't it?"

 

"Well, obviously, he forgot the condom somewhere along the line." Robby's shrewd eyes appraised her friend.

 

"Yeah, we had a couple of real passionate nights in Bangkok before we took off to Laos. Hannibal had 'married' me again, in the Consul's office so it would be legal, and we were having our 'official' wedding night. It's funny, once it was really legal, he quit wearing the damned things. But I figured it was too late. We'd had a lot of unprotected sex over ten years and I never caught." She shrugged wistfully.

 

"How are you going to be able to support them and keep up the practice?"

 

"Hannibal left me with a sizeable annuity and trusts, so we're more than comfortable. I've got friends, Robby, who all want to help. So I'm not too worried."

 

"Well, it will sure be one helluva surprise for him when he gets back. Have you stopped to think how old he'll be then, Maggie? Plus ten years in prison, any prison, ages a man... and he's not in some minimal country club lockdown, love. He's doing the real thing - hard time. I don't want to rain on your parade, but to these kids dad will be more like a grandpa to them."

 

Maggie shook her head. "Hannibal's ageless, Robby, he'll manage."

 

"Maggie, be real. He'll have been in a Vietnamese prison for ten years, not an extended vacation. You said they hate him over there d'ya really think they're gonna treat him nice?"

 

"No. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. The boys will be old enough that it won't be a problem for him. No nappies and midnight feedings, and all that stuff."

 

"Yeah, well, you've still got that to look forward to. Listen, I'll give you a list of basics; I don't need to tell you what to do I'm sure you give this lecture plenty of times up at Bad Rock. I'll set up some appointments to track your progress. You gonna go Lamaze or epidural?"

 

"I'll practice the Lamaze just in case, but we'll see what happens when it gets close to labor time." I want to feel this... every minute of it. I've waited so long for this baby, I don't want to miss a minute of it. But Maggie knew her friend would think she was nuts to go through all that pain.

 

Robby got up, started clearing the table. "Want some more, Truan?"

 

He nodded happily and Robby spooled out some more spaghetti for him. "That's it, kiddo. Any more and you're gonna pop." He looked at her, not quite understanding but realizing she was being nice and so graced her with a huge grin.

 

"Come here, Maggie." As Maggie got up, Robby came over to her and gave her a big hug. "I'm so happy for you. You just take care, okay?"

 

Maggie nodded. "Of course."

 

They went to the front room to catch up on news while Truan continued to negotiate the long pasta strands.

 

********

 

During Hannibal's reminisces in his cell and one floats in that he hadn't really thought about in years Sally sparkling eyed, bright, perky, vivacious Sally. She had definitely been one of the cuter nurses at DaNang and was the object of all the officers' attentions. Hannibal had been amazed that somehow he had lucked out and been the man to capture her heart. They'd had brief, intense sessions of frenzied love was there any other kind in 'Nam? and had even done one R&R in Hawaii, which had left him with a perpetually big smile on his face for that place.

 

Then it had grown more serious and he found that he finally, really did want to commit to someone. She didn't want to give up her own career in the Army, she understood his motivation and was more than happy to live with it, be part of it. He felt like he was absolutely in heaven, then their final joy was the day she told him, "Hannibal, I'm pregnant." She had looked at him, not sure how this would affect their relationship. Would he turn her away? Would he tell her to get rid of it, that it really didn't work right now? Or would he be the man she thought he was?

 

He was. His face had broken open with a wide, silly smile when she told him. "Pregnant? Wow! That's great! When?"

 

She told him.

 

The first words out of his mouth had been "We've got to get married, then."

 

She looked at him. It had been a thought, maybe they would, maybe not. In Vietnam, with the war the way it was, one did not usually make such long-term plans in-country casually.

 

So they made their plans and life was good. The wedding was set for a couple of months down the road, plenty of time before the baby was born. Then he got bumped up to a Special Ops group. His A-Teams had gained notoriety across Vietnam as being very daring, resourceful and probably the best that there were. Now he was being sent out on ever-escalating dangerous ops, the kind that you didn't come back from usually.

 

It had put a nasty edge on their relationship. Sally found it more and more distressing every time he was gone and no one heard anything; as time went on and still silence, there was no way of knowing whether Hannibal was still even alive it finally just got too much for her. Having mood swings from the pregnancy, and mood swings of another sort from loving and worrying about Smith, she was open territory to a new young officer who'd come in, particularly kind and considerate to her, and slowly but surely her heart had swung in another direction.

 

Hannibal closed his eyes, the painful memories threatening to do him in. He'd seldom given his heart to anyone in his life and the few he had had all left him, one way or another.

 

He decided to follow this one memory through to the end. Her leaving him had been bad enough, but the new guy didn't want any leftover attachments from her past, and most assuredly did not want any bastard brat from some other man. Bastard brat...only because she wouldn't get around to marrying me when I asked her... I know Maggie couldn't completely understand why I was so hell bent on saving this kid's life I just couldn't let another one go down because of me. Sally, besotted with fresh love, agreed with the new man and quietly had the child terminated without ever saying a word to him.

 

Hannibal felt the lurch in his chest still as strong as the day when he'd first heard the news. It was something he'd never quite gotten over, try as he may. After grieving privately for a short while, too short really, he'd ultimately stuck it in that little closet of his, along with everything else, because it was the one thing he really did not want to think about. And until Maggie had brought up the subject of Truan in Bangkok, he had managed to completely forget it, to put it out of his conscious heart.

 

He tossed and turned on the thin mattress. God, what is it with me and women? What is it with me and kids? What have I ever done to you, God? He questioned himself, then the creator. Haven't I paid enough for whatever it was I did? Haven't I? On that morose thought, he turned over and tried to go to sleep, his mind suddenly weary and heavy with the long unresolved grief still with him.

 

*******************

BIG GAP HERE... about six months or so

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*******************

 

Peck was sitting at the trial bar with the others, going over testimony with Phelps when the court clerk walked up with a note for him. Face read it, then grew agitated. He leaned over to Phelps. "We've got to get a continuance. We have an emergency that has just come up."

 

Phelps looked at him in total amazement. "Excuse me?"

 

Face reiterated his statement. "We have an emergency, we have to leave."

 

"Young man, you don't just leave in the middle of a trial."

 

"I'm sorry, but we've got a friend who's having a baby and she needs us."

 

Phelps shook his head. "Now? Right this minute?"

 

"Pretty close, according to this message."

 

Phelps looked at him intently and rolled his eyes. "Anyone I know?"

 

Face stretched the moment to its maximum. "Yeah, Maggie Smith."

 

The name instantly galvanized the attorney. Waiting for the prosecutor to finish his spiel, he rose the second it was done and stated to the court, "We wish to beg the indulgence of the court to grant a continuance an emergency has arisen and we wish to ask for a continuance until..." he looked at Peck for a time.

 

Face whispered back at him, "At least two days I would think."

 

Phelps nodded. "Two days, your honor."

 

The chief justice looked at him oddly, then nodded his approval. "Does opposing counsel have any problem with this?"

 

The prosecutor shook his head. They all knew Phelps and if he asked for a continuance out of the blue, there had to be a damned good reason and they weren't going to thwart him.

 

"Very well, General Phelps. Your continuance is granted, we were about to adjourn early anyway, but I expect to see you and the defendants here promptly at 08:00 in two days."

 

Phelps nodded respectfully at the lead judge and then back at Peck. "Hope it's worth it."

 

"We think so. It's Hannibal's baby and we just have to be there." Then Peck turned to BA and Murdock to let them in on what was going on.

 

"What's up, Faceman?" BA's question was in its usual brusque, gruff style.

 

Peck looked back at them with a silly grin plastered on his face. "We just got our heads up from Maggie! It's time, guys. Little Hannibal is getting ready to make his entrance."

 

The other two both got the same silly grin as Peck and asked in unison, "Really?"

 

Peck nodded, "Yeah, we gotta make tracks up to Bad Rock now. Her doc's already enroute. We can't miss this, guys."

 

In seconds, they were out of the courtroom and into Peck's car and peeling out of the parking lot to hit the 405 [are they back in LA??? YES! Trial moved to LA, figure out why. Resolve EARLIER!]

 

*********

 

Robby Cathcart loaded her medic bag and what few things she thought she might need. Maggie Sullivan had always run a tight ship in her surgery, so Robby didn't think she'd need much that Maggie didn't already have. She couldn't help but wonder how this labor was going to go. She hoped for Maggie's sake that it was a quick one, but knowing the propensity of firstborns to take their sweet time, she wasn't banking on it.

 

*************

 

Face literally flew up the freeway, breaking any number of speed laws in his haste to get to Bad Rock in time. He knew he would never be able to forgive himself if he missed this. All those Lamaze classes gone to waste if I do! But he knew what really mattered was that Maggie have her 'family' with her at this momentous time since the one person she really wanted to be here couldn't. At the sober thought, his countenance darkened, hating yet again that Hannibal was in Vietnam while the rest of them were here, safe and sound, in California. It just wasn't fair.

 

Murdock seemed to sense Peck's thoughts. "Penny for ya thoughts, Faceman?"

 

Peck shrugged. "Just hopin' we get there in time, Murdock. Would hate to let Maggie down now."

 

The pilot nodded. Not just Maggie either, Facey, but Hannibal too. He put the care of his family into our hands. We gotta make it in time.

 

BA sat in the backseat, watching the trees and signs go flying by. "Cain' you get no more speed outta' this thing, Face? We barely goin' da limit."

 

"Any faster, BA, and we'll end up in the clink! Don't think that will help Maggie very much!" But Peck found himself pressing the accelerator just a tad more. "Once we get into Hank's territory, then we can cut loose, but not here."

 

"Hrrmmph." BA's comment was short and sweet. I oughta be drivin' this thing, then we make some headway. But Baracus knew that Peck was just as solicitous about his car as he was about his van, and would not appreciate someone else driving if he had any say in the matter. He stifled his comments and tried to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

************

 

Show a Hannibal memory from Korea, where it's his best buddy, somebody he really loves and the guy overdoses or did something with drugs and died. Hannibal was just devastated, both at the loss of his friend and at the total waste the way that the man DID die. This will set his dislike for drugs from that point on, especially when someone tries to offer him some. He ended up beating the guy to a pulp suspecting he was the pusher that had gotten [name] hooked. It had been one of the few major blots on an otherwise blemish-free record. Afterwards, he carried an intense hatred of drugs, their pushers and their users. {Doesn't have to be terribly long, just another memory floating in during solitary.] Figure he was probably a lieutenant then, so he was in command of troops, so he also had the compound problem of having to watch his men die uselessly in battle, taking hills that were more bloody than they were ever worth. [Pull out Korea research and find a couple of battles, etc.]

 

ILLO - HAN IN KOREA (VICTORS execution of deserter)

 

*************

 

Maggie felt her water break and knew time was getting close. Where the hell is everybody? She looked at her watch with anticipation and dread. Am I going to have to deliver this baby by myself? She grimaced at the thought and then at the pain another strong contraction brought. She looked to the side to see Nguyet sitting there, holding her wrist, seeming to do nothing, yet she realized that the bed was turned, towels and water by the side, ready for the cleanup and that Nguyet was totally unruffled by it all.

 

"How do you stay so calm, Nguyet?" Even as she said it, another contraction wormed through.

 

"It is day thing in Vietnam, Doctor Maggie. All woman live this. Nothing new."

 

Maggie nodded. Of course, in such an agrarian culture, all women were skilled in helping their sisters bring the new life into the world. She probably was in as good hands as she could be. She squeezed Nguyet's hand in silent thanks.

 

She'd posted Truan to sit by the door and wait for the crowd to show up and to direct them back here. She hadn't wanted him to see her in such pain, and this made him feel useful at the same time. "If our uncles come in or my lady doctor friend, bring them back here as fast as you can, okay?"

 

Truan had nodded soberly. "Yes, mom doc, I can do that."

 

She'd smiled at him. "Good boy, I know you can. I'm depending on you."

 

"Yes, mom doc. I you son, I be good boy. Soon we have small brother?"

 

She smiled grittily. "Yes, we will. Go on." She'd watched as he scampered to the front room to take up his position by the door. Once he was gone, she sank back into the pillows gritting her teeth as another contraction made itself known.

 

"God, Nguyet, how long does this take?" Maggie knew well enough; she'd helped birth enough babies around Bad Rock over the years. Knowing didn't make it any easier, however.

 

"Baby come when ready. No way hurry." The small Vietnamese woman squeezed her hand again.

 

Maggie nodded, feeling really worn out.

 

 

Part 2

 

Peck and the Team arrived just about the same time as Robby; the whole mob dashed up to the porch and knocked loudly. Truan opened the door to see everyone at once which overwhelmed him. His burgeoning English took a nosedive. "I... you... mom... go..."

 

Robby took control and pushed her way in. Passing the surgery and seeing no one there, she headed for the back bedroom, followed closely by Face, Murdock and BA. The whole crew burst in, startling Nguyet and Maggie both.

 

"'Bout time you guys got here," Maggie groused. "It's not easy keeping a baby waiting for its family to show up."

 

The men all looked stricken. "Oh, Maggie, we didn't mean..." "We thought we made good time..."

 

Shaking her head, she managed a croaking laugh. "It's okay, guys, really. I'm just teasing. I think you're just in time actually." Her face twisted again in pain with another contraction.

 

"Just barely in time from the looks of things." Robby immediately took charge. "Alright you men, out of here!"

 

They cast crestfallen looks at each other. They'd just broken every speed limit known to man to be shuffled out of the way?

 

"No, Robby, I need them. They're my Lamaze coaches."

 

"You are kidding, right? You actually intend to go through this with no epidural?" Robby could not believe what she was hearing.

 

"Damned right. I've waited too damned long for this to miss it in a drug induced haze. Face, go scrub up and get your ass over here on the other side of the bed. Murdock, ditto. BA, you just stay handy in case we need some help, okay? Unless you're scared of the sight of blood."

 

BA drew himself up proudly. "Blood don' never scare me, lil mama. Flyin' wi' da fool do, but that it. Seen plenty blood back in 'Nam. You tell me what you wan' and BA Baracus do it."

 

Maggie smiled a tired grin. "You got it, BA. You two, scoot... NOW! We're not playing here, guys."

 

Face and Murdock headed for the kitchen where they scrubbed down quick and then came back to help. Face sat on one side of the bed, Murdock on the other. They each took an arm in a strong, but supportive grasp. Face began the mantra that he'd learned with Maggie a few months back. "Okay, Maggie, breathe, in between the contractions. Now.... whoosh, whoosh..."

 

She looked up at him, and her features relaxed. She was home free now. With her family beside her supporting her, she would get through this just fine. She began the structured breathing needed for the birth, while Robby prepared the birth channel, waiting, encouraging her. "Okay, Maggie, now push... push hard!"

 

Maggie pushed and then collapsed, breathing the short rapid breaths required. Face kept cheering her on, while Murdock just held on, giving her something to dig her nails into as the pain grew more intense.

 

They went through this for about thirty minutes, and were all getting sweaty and tired during the ordeal. Maggie was having more difficulty with her pushes and after the last one finally asked, "Is there something wrong, Robby? Do we need to get to a hospital?"

 

"Little late to be asking that, doncha' think, Maggie? Nope, baby just wants to come when he wants to. Takes after his dad, I think. Can't tell him nothing!"

 

They all cracked up at that, even Maggie but it was short-lived, and within seconds she was pushing again.

 

"Okay, Maggie, I think one or two more's gonna do it. I can see his head." Robby reached forward to help the small bundle make its entrance.

 

Maggie arched back and pushed for all she was worth, screaming her lungs out in the process. Both men held onto her, supporting her, giving her a focus point. She dropped back, limp, gasping rapidly to the cadence of Face's coaching.

 

"Okay, Maggie, one more and I think we've got ourselves a baby here.... come on, babe, you can do it." Robby leaned forward.

 

Maggie arched back one last time, screaming, pushing for all she was worth. Then a small bundle popped out and in seconds, Robby had peeled the sack back and blew on its face. A healthy squall was their reward. Once getting air in its lungs, the baby started crying for everything it was worth.

 

Maggie lay limply against the pillows, covered in sweat, but the sound of the baby's wailing instantly energized her. "Where is he? Is he okay? Everything where it's supposed to be?"

 

Robby listened to the worry in Maggie's voice. She smiled and looked up at her friend after seeing the silky fine blonde hair on the baby. "Yeah, it's a boy, Maggie, and you've got yourself another Hannibal. The kid is an absolute towhead. I've never seen such fine blonde hair on a newborn."

 

Maggie leaned back into the pillows and grinned a silly smile, happy beyond belief. "Really?"

 

"Yeah. And I have a feeling that he'll have those same blue eyes, too. Think you lucked out, kiddo."

 

"Good. That's what I was hoping for." She leaned back on the pillow, suddenly terribly, terribly tired, but so content.

 

Murdock got some towels and gently wiped the perspiration from her face. "Anything I can get you, Maggie?"

 

She smiled sweetly. "No, just need to rest for a bit."

 

Robby took over. "This is where it gets messy guys, so if you don't mind, all of you can go to the other room now. Your job is done. This is woman's work."

 

They looked relieved since this birthing business wasn't really their cup of tea anyway. They filed slowly out, grabbing Truan at the door and propelling him ahead of them into the front room.

 

Robby did the prescribed stuff with eyedrops, iodine, etc. asked about circumcision, while the little guy was screaming his head off, greatly offended at his rude introduction to the world.

 

Maggie sat there, filled with repetitive questions. "Is he alright? Is he okay? Anything wrong?"

 

Robby got exasperated. "Maggie, I would tell you if there was. He's fine, he's beautiful. You've got yourself a gorgeous little baby - a son to be proud of. But you, lady, are going to rest." She was busy cleaning off the squalling baby and wrapped him in a soft fleece blanket. She went around to the side and presented Maggie's son to her. "Little Hannibal is just fine, perfect in every way... except maybe his lungs..."

 

Maggie looked up, worried at that. "What's wrong with his lungs? Sound fine to me."

 

"Yeah, that's just it. They're fine. You're gonna have a lot of sleepless nights on your hands, Maggie." Then as an afterthought she asked a loaded question. "Do you want him circumcised now, Maggie? Be quick and over with for him."

 

Maggie looked down at the squirming red mass of humanity in her arms. "No. Not now." She gently finger-brushed the silky blonde hair that covered the baby's head, amazed at how like his father he was, even at this stage where he resembled nothing so much as a large prune. "He'll have enough in his life to deal with, I don't think he needs that."

 

"Yeah, but you know it's a health consideration." Robby wanted to do right by this baby on every level.

 

"So he'll learn good hygiene early." She gazed down at the small baby, totally enraptured, then began to cry softly.

 

Maggie peered at him carefully and was amazed to see Hannibal's face looking back at her, albeit a bit redder and more wrinkled. Even though the kid was squalling and prune-like, she could still see Smith's face there. She cuddled the baby closer to her, lay back on the pillow and relaxed, going totally limp.

 

Robby smiled. "Well, you two rest for awhile. Later, we'll come back and get you some dinner... him too."

 

Maggie's eyelids drooped. "That sounds like a great idea."

 

Robby reached for the baby. "You want me to put him in the crib?"

 

But Maggie wouldn't relinquish him. "No."

 

"Maggie, it's okay, you can let go of him, no one's gonna hurt him."

 

"No."

 

"Okay, just don't drop him..."

 

"I won't." Holding him lovingly, she looked up at her friend. "Could you put a couple of pillows behind my head?" Robby did so, then Maggie leaned back and just held the baby and the pair of them drifted off, the baby finally settling down, drawing a sense of calm from her .

 

*****************

 

Hannibal was exercising as much as he could, knowing that if he sat around like a lump, he would lose whatever agility and flexibility he had it was the beginning of the end at his age. Given his hurt arm, he couldn't do too much in the upper chest area but he did sit-ups, leg lifts, knee squats, bends, anything he could think of including using his other good arm which he exercised as much as he could when not tied down in restraints. The gimpy arm was kept at a less painful angle by a long strip of fabric tied in a circle which he wound around his wrist and tied around his neck. It wasn't pretty, certainly wasn't orthopaedic, but it did help relieve a bit of the pain and pressure off the shoulder.

 

*****************

 

Later, everyone had come in to see Hannibal's progeny and all could see what a duplicate he was of his father. Truan resembled Hannibal to an extreme degree, but this one might as well have been Hannibal himself at a younger age.

 

Face was the first to see Maggie's tears. "You okay, Maggie?"

 

She raised her face to him and then to them all. "Yes. I just wish his father could be here to see this. Oh, Hannibal, I miss you so much." She bowed her head for a long moment in sad contemplation until the small person began to demand attention, reaching up for her.

 

Robby grinned. "Looks like he's his dad's boy in more ways than one. I believe you once said Hannibal was a boob man?"

 

The Team all looked up at that, not quite sure how to take it. Then Maggie chuckled. "Oh, most definitely, Hannibal is a boob man... can't get enough of them. Looks like you're right." She watched tenderly as the baby reached for her.

 

"Well, gentlemen, that is your cue to disappear for awhile. Young Hannibal you *are* going to name him something else aren't you? is going to learn the fine art of dinner. So, shoo, scat... see you later." Robby brushed them out with her hands.

 

Face leaned over to gently kiss Maggie on the forehead. "He's beautiful Maggie, and Hannibal will be so proud when he sees him. Just hang onto that, okay?"

 

She looked up at him. "Yeah, Face. I will." Her eyes were glistening with still unshed tears, but the sparkle was coming back as she looked again at the baby. Peck knew she would be okay.

 

Robby added a practical note. "Why don't you guys fix dinner or something? We're all gonna be hungry here pretty soon, once young master Smith has had his dinner."

 

Taking the hint, the men all trooped out to the front, to be met by Truan's wide, frightened eyes. "Is mom doc okay?"

 

Murdock smiled broadly. "Yes, Truan. Mom doc is fine, and so is your new brother. You can go see him later, but right now, mom has to rest for awhile. You can help us cook dinner, okay?"

 

Truan nodded eagerly, glad to be of some real help. He had been so frightened when he'd heard Maggie's screams and then the cries of the baby.

 

Maggie took the baby to her breast and Robby showed her the basics of breast feeding. The baby was a champ and caught on immediately. "Ouch!" She recoiled at the first bite, the tender nipples very sore from holding unshed milk for so long.

 

"Don't worry, it toughens up real quick, Maggie. It won't hurt for long."

 

Maggie looked up at her friend with a quizzical look. "I hope not. No one warned me about this."

 

Robby smiled. "Just go with the flow, Maggie." She watched solicitously as Maggie leaned back against the pillows and the baby began to suckle vigorously. "There, see, it's not so bad. I've even heard you can get a nice buzz from it... which is probably fine since most new moms have absolutely no desire to ever see their husbands naked again for quite awhile." She chuckled lecherously.

 

Maggie looked up, the pain and pathos stark in her eyes. "If I could have him here, right now, I'd take him any way I could get him, naked or not."

 

Robby looked deep into her friend's eyes, the light banter put aside. "I know, Maggie, I know. I only wish I could make it happen. But you've got that small one to worry about now. Hannibal will take care of himself he always has, right?"

 

Maggie nodded, but didn't say what she really felt. /He's never been so alone before, so cut off from all his support systems. I'm worried about him. I'm scared.../

 

About that time, the baby bit down again and sharply brought Maggie out of her reverie. "Ouch! Is this normal?"

 

Robby grinned. "Yup. Trust me, you'll get used to it." Then she began the clean-up, pushing Maggie back against the pillows. "You relax. We still have some afterbirth to wait for and then get to clean you up. Have to see if you need any stitches."

 

Maggie looked up at her. "I don't think so. I feel fine. I really do."

 

"Is that the doctor speaking or the mother?" Robby began cleaning off the soiled linens being careful not to make Maggie move any more than necessary. When she finally looked up, she saw both mother and baby were sound asleep, breathing in the same cadence. Smiling to herself, Robby finished cleaning up the placenta and then the bed linens she could get to, and leaned over to gently kiss Maggie on the top of the head. "Sleep well, Maggie. You've earned it." She toted the huge pile of sheets and towels out with her and gently closed the door behind her.

 

***************

 

Hannibal knew that today was going to be different. Quan Li had been very agitated when he'd spoken to him earlier. He followed the guards into the interrogation room, dreading every step.

 

Quan Li was seated at his desk, reading some papers. When Smith was positioned in front of him, he deigned to look up. "Well, Colonel, it would appear that some new information has arrived to make a mockery of your ongoing story." He stared straight into Smith's eyes with an evil glint. "Nothing to say?"

 

"What would you have me say? That I've been lying all this time? That I enjoy our little sessions here? What kind of fool do you take me for?" Hannibal was angry, feeling that nothing he said would make any difference. He'd been going through the same shit for a year now; he was tired of it.

 

"One who knows when it is futile to continue resistance. It serves no point, Colonel. The war is over. Unless, of course, it is your own personal fortune you are protecting?" Quan Li's oily tone did little to cover the malevolence he was pursuing.

 

"What fucking personal fortune? I'm a fugitive in the U.S. hardly an enviable position. What good would a fortune do me there?" Hannibal was truly incensed, both at the accusation and the realization that he was in serious trouble here.

 

tbc

 


Bitter Harvest - Baby Birth 1-2 by Rita R.

 

 


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