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Battle for Births

Mal blinked at her, their eye contact not breaking, frozen in time, the intensity like some kind of electromagnetic field, “The battle for births.”

She shook her head, “Mal...”

“You said you’d wait for me.” He stopped, shaking his head, “I thought that maybe...” Mal shook himself though, taking a breath, gesturing to the little girl who was currently peeking at him from behind her mother’s leg, “So she’s yours ain’t she.” More of a statement than a question really, it was pretty obvious.

She bit her lip, looking way from him, “Yep.”

On the confirmation, all his breath seemed to be knocked from Mal’s lungs at once. He tried to smile, tried to be happy for her, but his body wouldn’t allow him to deny the despair he truly felt, him rasping with a drained voice instead in a bittersweet tone, “Shiny.”

Tears were in her eyes, she exasperatedly wiping them away, “I had to. The pressure... Mal you have to understand, I just wanted to help. You can understand that right? Right?”

But it was as if Mal couldn’t hear any of it. He’d known as soon as he’d opened the gate that he’d get an answer like this, because it hadn’t squeaked. Mal hadn’t fixed it. She’d said she wouldn’t. So someone else had.

“Mommy, why’s the man crying?”

His wife, well the woman he had married, had loved, shook her head at Lucy, knowing Mal wouldn’t like that attention. He’d always liked to appear stoic. She addressed her daughter, “He’s fine sweetie, why don’t you go on inside-”

But Lucy wanted to stay, to see who this tall, brown haired, stern faced man was. Where had he come from? How did he know Mommy? Her questions were endless, how could her own mother send her away at such an important time??

But she was pushed into the house anyway, watching though through the blinds and narrowing her eyes in concentration. This would be interesting.


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