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16 March 2010 @ 10:40 pm
Original Fiction: Broken  
Title: Broken
Author: somebodysangel/nyafangirl  
Rating: PG
Genre: Angst
Summary: “For better or worse, Nikki. We have both in the one package.”
Notes: This was the original idea for my last OF piece, Heat, and I only recently had the brainwave that allowed me to finish it as something unique. Thanks to griffin_wolf  for the beta.

It wasn’t like in the movies. She didn’t suddenly wake up and open her eyes. Coming out of anaesthesia was much like waking from a normal sleep; first she heard vague noises, then her brain switched on and she could make out voices and footsteps. Next came the very obvious hospital smells, and a stale taste in her mouth. Her vision was the last to return, and she had to blink a few times before the stars faded and she could make out the objects around her. The room was the same as it had been before the surgery, and the fact was both comforting and depressing – she didn’t want this room to feel like home!

Nikki knew she was being closely monitored, but it was still surprising how quickly the doctors entered her room. Their explanations and prognoses were a blur – numbers and chances and stories of other patients. They told her not to panic, but the beeping of the heart monitor betrayed her rising terror. Just as she began having trouble breathing, when the passive faces of the doctors changed to concern, the door opened again.

The panic dissolved the instant she saw his face, worried though it was. And, despite everything she’d just heard, the sight of their daughter in his arms brought a wide smile to her face. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the medical personnel exit quietly, but all her attention was focused on her family walking towards her.

He kissed her gently, careful not to press too hard. The kiss didn’t last nearly long enough for her liking, but he moved away too quickly for her to do anything about it except voice her dissatisfaction. He merely smirked in response, as he untangled their sleeping daughter from his arms and laid her on the bed next to her mother. Jade curled into the warmth of the body beside her, seeking, even in sleep, her mother’s touch. A tiny fist moved an even smaller thumb back to the rosebud of her mouth, so reminiscent of Nikki’s.

Jade’s soft brown hair, now growing out in curls after her first haircut a month ago, smelled like lavender and baby and home. Nikki inhaled deeply, and suddenly the homesickness that had been abated by the arrival of her family came slamming back. Tears sprang to her eyes, though Josh wiped them away before they spilled down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, just as she had every time he visited her.

“It wasn’t your fault,” he replied, well-versed in his role by now. Although they’d had this conversation multiple times before, his words were still just as meaningful as the first time. “Everyone trips on occasion, Bub. It was an accident.”

She scoffed. “Some accident. Look at me.”

He leaned over to kiss her forehead. “For better or worse, Nikki. We have both in the one package.”

She smiled at the reminder. “How is he?”

“Doing better every day. He’s almost up to the weight of a full term baby, in just three weeks. Doctors say he can probably come home in a week or two.” He smiled wryly. “He’ll be home before his due date.”

“We never did think of a name,” she said, wistful once again.

“Well, we did still have seven weeks. And Jade was nameless for three days after she was born.”

Nikki chuckled. “True. We’re crap at making decisions, huh?”

Smiling, Josh stroked Jade’s hair fondly. “Not bad, just not quick. I think our decisions are pretty great, actually.”

As Nikki opened her mouth to respond, Jade stirred against her shoulder. The clear blue irises of her baby girl hadn’t changed since Jade’s birth; she had her father’s eyes. Said eyes stared at her for a moment before recognition dawned.

“Mumma!” Jade exclaimed, throwing her arms around her mother.

“Careful, munchkin. Mummy’s been hurt, remember?” Josh moved to lift Jade off the bed, but Nikki’s expression stopped him.

“God, I missed you, honey,” Nikki sighed, ecstatic to have her daughter nearby once again. It was the first time she’d seen Jade since the accident, she and Josh having decided to wait until her face was less bruised so as not to scare the toddler.

After a few moments, Jade pulled back, confusion etched on her face. “Mumma hug Jay?”

Nikki inhaled shakily, turning her gaze to Josh. How could she explain to an eighteen month old things she herself didn’t even understand? Even modern medicine didn’t fully understand the complexities of the human nervous system, and even less about injuries to said system. Yes, there were treatments and therapy – not to mention hope – that would increase her chances of recovery. And it had only been three weeks since the accident; time would tell just how permanent her injuries were.

But at the end of the day, she’d broken her neck falling down a staircase while seven months pregnant. Cushioned in her womb, her baby boy had miraculously survived unharmed, despite being born premature. Nikki’s life, however, would never be so simple again.

She had already been through several tests to discover the extent of the damage to her neck and spinal cord, and this recent surgery was the result. Although the details of the how and why had flown over her drug-addled head, she knew it had something to do with decompressing her spinal cord. And, most importantly, it was her only chance. Josh had worried about the risks, but it was a simple decision for her: the chance to walk, or not. That glimmer of hope had been her lifeline through two days of waiting; despite various specialists telling her there was no miracle cure. But the hope remained, even as she succumbed to the now-familiar feel of anaesthesia. Then she woke up.

She focused on Jade once again, and saw tears in her daughter’s eyes. Every fibre of her being burned to hold her baby girl and wipe the tears away, but her arms lay still and useless at her sides.

“I can’t hug you, honey.”


fin.
 
 
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