Leaving Germany

A/N It should be obvious that this is Fan Fiction, I don't own James, Ann, or Nana - They belong to Disney and Disney would never treat them this way. With respect to any mention of surgery, you should consider that part to be pure fantasy. Even if Mrs Dr P is the surgeon. If nothing else, the lack of a sterile place for Ann's emergency surgeries would make success a fantasy.

Ann walked quickly to the main conference room. When on duty and that seemed to be 24/7 much of the last year, she always walked quickly. Her pregnancy had progressed from the "mostly ignorable bump and occasionally throwing up" stage to the "uncomfortable while running" stage. Dr Maddox Haupthauen waited for her outside the door. He was smiling. 'Smiling is a good sign, right?' thought Ann. Dr Haupthauen was the head of her department, a man who constantly encouraged his staff to do better than they thought they were able. He had little tolerance for screw-ups or slackers, but a more supportive man to his people who were trying their best you would never find. Surprisingly, Ann came back to the hospital to get a warm reception from everyone, she had expected to receive additional butt chewing from her stepping out of bounds in the field. "Dr Credible!", he cheerfully called out, extending his hand. "How are you? And how is the baby?"

"Dr Raubarzt says the baby is developing just fine. The staff has been most gracious to shift me to shorter surgeries to reduce the amount of time I am standing."

"Good, good. We must get together sometimes over lunch before you leave so you can tell me more of your recent adventures!"

Ann took his hand and received a warm handshake. Relieved that she wasn't here to get any part of her anatomy chewed on, Ann replied, "Not much to tell, Dr Haupthauen. Just basic surgery in sometimes uncomfortable conditions."

Smiling broadly, he motioned to the door. "Perhaps you could answer questions on a surgery we have received a video about."

They walked into the conference room and sat down. The room was full of senior staff and residents. The video wasn't the best and was a little shaky, but Ann recognized it immediately. "I didn't realize he had a camera, I just asked for a light and thought it was a heavy duty flashlight."

"Where are you?" Dr Haupthauen asked.

"In the back of an armored personnel carrier. This corpsman had received a leg wound and the tourniquet wasn't stopping the bleeding. I determined the cause was a damaged artery too deep for the tourniquet. I moved the patient into the vehicle because there was still some small arms fire going on. The threat of RPGs had the MEDEVAC flights in a hold state otherwise we would have transported the patient back to the field hospital even with his bleeding not quite stopped."

"You were under fire?"

"I don't think anyone was shooting at me personally, but better safe than sorry."

"What are you doing to your arm here?"

"I seem to have cut it or something, I needed to do a quick fix so I wouldn't be bleeding on the patient."

"That looks like six or seven stitches?"

"Seven I think." Ann looked around at the residents in the room. "This is another example of why you learn to tie knots one handed."

"Why do you have the patient's leg propped up on your shoulder?"

"I didn't have room for any assistant to get in to provide suction so this lets the blood collecting in the wound drain away. Messy but worked."

Ann continued talking about her work, about how that clamping the artery would have been fast and stopped the bleeding, but cutting off the blood flow that way would have endangered the leg unless they could immediately MEDEVAC him. Repairing the artery enough to give them the extra time it was going to take to get him back to the hospital was only 15 minutes of work using precision stitches and a bit of super glue. At the end of the video, Ann excused herself saying that she had to run to prepare to assist on a scheduled surgery. After she left, the residents and surgeons in the conference room had a lively discussion of whether they had just seen genius or lunacy.

Dr Haupthauen left the conference room regretting that Dr Credible needed to raise her child in Middleton, otherwise he would try to recruit her.

The Morning After

James heard yet another set of people come into his room. It had been that way all day. Early that morning he was visited by four hard looking men. They didn't have much to say to him at first, but examined his injury and talked among themselves about having somebody named Ramirez do a better job in "teaching his students to keep their wrist straight and thrust with their entire body." Turning to him, one of the men asked, "Are you a rough man, James?"

James looked puzzled. "Rough man? No, I don't think so."

"We heard what you were trying to do." said a second man.

James laughed, then grimaced from the pain. "Not real successful."

The men laughed, then one said, "Buddy, you have to go out and try, you don't have to come back." The men shook hands with him and the last one left a large coin in James' hand. To James' puzzled expression, one of the men just said: "You are now a member of the exclusive club of rough men that the Doc has saved." With a wave, they left.

But other than these four, his visitors were mostly a senior physician or surgeon with a flock of interns following like ducklings. Other than a polite "Good morning Mr Possible, may we?" while gesturing to his side, he might as well not have been in the room. The sheet was lifted up and the dressing was gently peeled back so that all present could ooh and aah over Ann's neat, precise stitching. Then followed a usually gentle poke and prod to feel the second layer of stitching underneath the skin. There would be the quietly awed announcement that Dr Credible had done all this on the floor of the apartment where she found Mr Possible laying in a pool of his own blood. So far, this bunch was following the same script as earlier groups. Laying back with his eyes closed feeling like a cut of meat on display in a butcher's shop, he finally heard the question one of the ducklings always asked:

"If this was a simple stab wound, why is the incision so long?"

But this time, he heard Ann herself say, "It's because I needed to make sure that none of Mr Possible's intestines were nicked or cut and I didn't have a laparoscope handy. Also, the amount of bleeding made me concerned that internal bleeding might need to be controlled before moving him."

"Mr Possible is a lucky man that you were nearby when he was stabbed, he might have died without your assistance," gushed a duckling.

Ann gave a tired laugh and looked at the duckling's name badge, "Mr Kirkland, I was the one that stabbed him."


"Officer Hobble, just what part of this seemed like a good idea to you?" The sheriff was not a happy man. "Middleton has its own police force to handle things like this you know."

"Yes sir," Hobble stood at attention, eyes straight ahead. "I talked to the precinct desk sergeant and he suggested that I file a report with Middleton General and have them look into it." The sheriff, tired of looking up, waved Hobble to a chair in front of his desk.

Officer Hobble sat down and continued, "Sir, all we had to go on was reports by a neighbor," Hobble checked his notebook, "a Gladys Kravitz, who reported hearing a woman crying late at night coming from the apartment next to hers. She suspected the neighbor, a Steve Barkin of running a human trafficking operation. But we checked and Lieutenant Barkin had moved out six weeks previously and the current tenant was a Dr Ann Credible who had moved in a little over a month ago after returning from a year working in Germany. Not wanting to make baseless trouble for the doctor with her hospital, we decided to investigate.

I interviewed Dr Credible myself and she said that there was nothing wrong. Lieutenant Barkin had mentioned that a James Possible was some sort of friend and business associate and that he had keys to the apartment. I naturally assumed that Mr Possible was a very close friend and at the next report of crying from the apartment, I swung by the Space Center, picked up Mr Possible and proceeded to Dr Credible's apartment. We entered the apartment, loudly announced ourselves and proceeded to check on Dr Credible. Dr Credible screamed something like 'No, I won't give you my baby!' and the next thing I knew, she was kneeling over a prone Mr Possible holding a bloody combat knife."

"You witnessed an obviously crazy woman attack a man and you didn't shoot her? Why?"

"Sir, first, I didn't see her attack Mr Possible. I was reaching for a light switch when it happened. Second, Dr Credible is obviously pregnant and I wasn't going to shoot a pregnant woman. But then she put the knife down, looked at me with clear eyes and told me to fetch her medical bag."

"What!"

"I know sir, but when I hesitated, she looked at me and said something like 'Get my bag now, officer! This man is not going to die tonight!'."

"What did you do?"

"I fetched her bag, sir. Then I helped her work on Mr Possible, she had me holding a light and occasionally sucking the blood out of the wound with a large syringe so she could see. It was actually fascinating, she told me what she was doing every step of the way."

"Is the doctor in custody now?" The sheriff was digging in his desk for aspirin. He was resisting the call of the good, aged whiskey in the bottom drawer.

"Uh, well, not exactly. She rode in the ambulance with Mr Possible but when we got there, she was dragged off to help do some emergency surgery on a traffic accident victim. I have two officers at the hospital, one outside Mr Possible's room and the other keeping a close watch on Dr Credible."


The senior physician and his ducklings finally left, leaving James alone in the room with Ann and two police officers. Ann, under the watchful eyes of the officers, addressed James, "Mr Possible, I see no reason you can't be released tonight if you have someone who can watch you for the next 48 hours or so."

"My mom should be here shortly and will be staying with me for a few days," James replied. His heart ached a little at her extremely impersonal, professional manner.

"Good. Here are your instructions for the next couple of days and here are two prescriptions," She laid a typed sheet of instructions and a small paper bag on a table. Pulling two bottles out of the bag, she continued, "this one is an antibiotic, take it three times a day for ten days and this one is for pain, take only if needed and no more than one every eight hours. I'll have a nurse stop in to check the area and remove the drain tube."

Ann turned as the door opened and Nana walked in dressed in a dark suit. She walked over to the two officers, showed her ID and talked quietly to them. They nodded and left the room, snickering at James.

"Uh Nana," murmured Ann, "I thought they were hanging around to arrest me?"

"Arrest you for assault with a deadly weapon on my son James?"

"Something like that, yeah." Ann looked at the ground.

"Never happened. James was opening one of those confounded hard plastic shells they put on products these days, his knife slipped and cut himself. Fortunately, you were there to help him. Ann, you are supposed to be off today. What do we need to do to get James discharged? I'd like to get the both of you out of here tonight."

"Well," Ann moved over to the edge of James' bed and peeled back the covers so she could examine the wound. Gently probing the area around the stitching, she said, "James has a really amazing healing factor, all I need to do is remove this drain tubing, stick a band-aid over the hole and then since I was the admitting physician, we can sign some paperwork on the way out." Ann wrapped the tubing around her hand and leaned over to look into James' eyes. James looked up and was immediately lost in those beautiful blue eyes. Ann yanked out the tubing using one quick, smooth motion as James bit back a yelp.

"Ann!" protested Nana, "Was that really necessary?"

"It's like taking off a band-aid. Quicker is better." Ann's smirk was heavy with fatigue.

"You owe me a favor." James stuck out his hand.

"OK" Ann rolled her eyes. "What?"

"May I touch your stomach?"

Too tired to be cautious, Ann walked over to James' bed. James slipped his hand under her scrub top and onto her stomach. The baby picked that moment to kick and James felt it. The look of joy and wonder on James' face broke her heart. She was even more convinced now that she had to change their agreement concerning custody.

Helping James move to a chair, Nana had Ann lay down on the bed. "You two stay put and I will go take care of paperwork, see about some rides, and be back with a wheelchair in about 20 minutes." By the time that the door closed behind Nana, Ann was asleep.

Thirty minutes later, Nana returned with an orderly and a wheelchair. The orderly helped a protesting James into the chair while Nana very carefully woke up Ann. "Ann, dear. Time for us to go, honey."

Ann sat up and Nana could see sentience return to her eyes after a few blinks. Taking the young woman by the arm Nana led them out and down the hallway. The floor nurse looked up and called out to Ann, "Dr Credible, your paperwork is all taken care of, you just go home and get some rest now, hear?"

A pickup truck and a sedan were waiting for them at the curb, Two of the men that James had seen that morning were standing by the vehicles. Nana and the orderly helped James into the pickup truck. "Calvin," Nana said to the man in the pickup, "Please drive James to his house. We'll take Ann by her apartment and pick up a few things and be along presently."

Getting into the back of the sedan with Ann, Ann gave the driver her address and he pulled out into the night traffic.

The plan

"James, I understand that you are the father of Ann's child." James grimaced at the directness of Calvin's statement.

"Technically, yes, but it is kind of complicated…" James started, trying to figure out an answer that would work.

"Oh I don't know, a turkey baster isn't all that complicated a bit of gear, James." Calvin had a wicked grin. "Just because you are a ground pounder doesn't mean you are clueless, and well, sometimes even a ground pounder has 'need to know'."

"So what did you need to know?"

"Some of us knew that the Doc was pregnant when she got to Germany, some of us were told to watch after her, and a few of us were told that the child she carried was special."

"Some of you?"

"Yeah, like Ramirez, he is the best in the business for teaching hand to hand combat to people, like the Doc, who have no business being in a fight. He teaches 'Hurt them quick. Hurt them bad. Run like hell.' His instruction is very hands on. But where he would have slammed a normal student on the ground multiple times, he would rarely throw the Doc and then when he did it was gently into a thick mat. Then there were the MEDEVAC chopper crews. They were always ready to take her along on early morning missions and pretend that the Doc was suffering from motion sickness, not morning sickness."

"Wouldn't keeping her at the hospital or sending her back to Germany keep her safe?" James thought he was missing something.

"The Doc seemed to have something she needed to do before this child is born. Since it seemed to have something to do with her saving some of my brothers in arms, I wasn't inclined to argue with her. One of the chopper crew said something about trying to turn her back once but then she did something called a puppy dog pout. Sounds silly, but the guy that told me was a real scary dude who I didn't think put up with any nonsense."

Stopping for a traffic light, Calvin turned and looked James in the eye, "But I digress, what are you to the Doc?"

"Me?"

"Yeah, you. Are you her boyfriend, lover, fiance, what?"

"Her sperm donor it appears." murmured James, looking down.

"Well, crap. Sorry about the turkey baster crack. The guys were afraid of this. Don't get me wrong, the Doc is superhero material as far as we are concerned, but it's like that song says, 'I don't need a man to hold my hand, I want one to hold my heart.'[1] You still got that coin I hope?"

James pulled the coin out of his shirt pocket and held it up. "I'm not a rough man, Calvin. She is everything I've dreamed about, well, maybe not the stabby part. But I fell hard for her the first time I met her. But I don't think she will let me be 'the man who holds her heart'."

The light turned green and Calvin shifted into gear and continued, "The Doc believes that we are her rough men ready to do violence so normal people can sleep at night. She loves us for that. But it's not the threat of our violence that the Doc needs to sleep peacefully at night. Enough of us have been down that road that we think she needs absolution."

"Forgiveness? For what?"

"Our first guess was that it was because she didn't save all of us, James. But we've pored over mission logs and talked to troopers and as best we can tell, if you were alive in the field when the Doc got to you, she kept you alive. We are hoping that you can help her figure it out and forgive herself."

"I'll do my best, Calvin."

Calvin pulled up to James' house. James slid out of the pickup. Pulling his keys out of his pocket, he thanked Calvin for the ride. Calvin declined James' offer to come in for coffee. As James walked up to the door, Calvin called out, "James?"

"Yes?" James turned at looked at Calvin.

"You have to go out and try, you don't have to come back. That applies to men's hearts as well as their souls."

James stood taller and turned to go up to the front door.

Calvin waited until James was safely in the house before driving away.


Nana walked up the two flights of stairs to Ann's apartment with Ann. Ann was moving slower than her usual "gotta get to surgery" speed of going, well, pretty much anywhere. Nana looked at her neighbor's door, open a crack with an eye peering out at them. Nana glared at the nosy neighbor and the door quickly closed. There was an envelope taped to Ann's door. Nana pulled off the envelope and unlocked the door, and motioned for Ann to go ahead.

Ann growled, "Does everyone in Middleton have a set of keys to my apartment?" and stepped in. Walking to her overstuffed recliner, she sat down and reclined with an audible relaxation.

"James and I both have keys so that we could check on the apartment while you were in Germany, dear. I believe that James has been trying to give you back his set, but it seems that you have not returned his calls to tell him when to bring them over. Would you like some tea, dear?"

"Nana, I really need to talk to you, but some tea would be nice, please."

Nana rummaged through cabinets and pulled out tea and a box of cookies. Nana remained silent until the tea was made and brought out tea and cookies for the two of them. Nana pulled over a chair so that she could sit next to Ann.

Nana looked at a troubled Ann and started, "First, let me start by saying that you have the full support of James and me, even if you won't speak to James."

"Nana, I have to change the agreement with James. Did you see his face when he felt his baby kick today? Only a monster would keep him from his child and I don't want to be that monster any longer."

"Dear, that makes me happy and I know James will be happy as well. But before you make any large changes, you need to take care of some problems so you can make decisions with a clear head and heart. I want to start with your sleep problems. I know what is causing some of it."

"You do?"

"Yes, dear. I've seen it before. I'm guessing that you have been running on about four hours of sleep a day since med school, am I right?"

"Yes, I found that I do well with a twenty-minute nap every couple of hours. That can be adjusted as I need it, for example, a four-hour surgery will require a double nap afterward."

"People who can run on four hours of sleep a day aren't that rare. But, your advancing pregnancy has messed you up, you are going to have to have closer to eight hours sleep in a day."

"But…"

"Not negotiable, dear, I am not making the rules, your body is."

"Second thing is that you are going to have to find someone to talk to."

"Talk to about what?"

"Whatever is making you cry in your sleep."

"It's mostly nightmares about James and the baby…"

"Then we have to figure out how to make you believe that nobody is going to take your baby away, especially James."

"I know that James isn't going to take my baby away."

"Dear, I can point you to a stab wound that says differently."

"I didn't mean to stab him, I just, well, panicked when he interrupted a nightmare. The nightmare was about me turning into a monster and people were taking my baby away from me to give to James so I wouldn't make her a monster like myself. Other times I dream that my child turns her back on me after she finds out what I have done to her daddy!"

"Dear, we will work on that after you get some rest. Trust me, You and James can fix this. One last detail," Nana handed Ann the letter that was taped to her door. "Look at this and see if is what I am afraid it is."

Ann opened the letter and read it. Fury broke out on her face. "They can't do this, it wasn't my fault!" She handed the letter back to Nana.

Nana glanced over the letter, "Notification that committing a felony in your apartment is against the terms of the lease, etc., etc., 48 hours to remove personal belongings, forfeiture of deposit because of blood stains, etc., etc."

Ann looked like she was close to breaking down into tears.

Nana took Ann's hands and said, "Dear, take a breath and relax. Let Nana take care of you for a few days OK? You've been rushing all over the place to take care of others for so long that you have neglected yourself. You need to be healthy, rested, and strong to take care of the baby and others; we can get you that way. Here's the plan. The hospital is giving you a week off. You lost so much leave in your first two years of residency by not taking any that they owe you. We will pack an overnight bag now and take you to a house that was just purchased and is pretty much empty. Tomorrow we will hire movers to get all your stuff here and move it to the new house. Then we will start to work on your sleep schedule so you aren't crazy sleep deprived but can still function as a surgeon. Does that sound like a plan?"

"OK, Nana. Wait, whose house is it?"

"James just bought it, I told him that with the current housing market it was a good investment."

"Nana, I can't move in with James, he will fall in love with me and I'll break his heart and…" Ann was openly crying.

"Ann, dear, get a grip and get over yourself. You're tired and irrational."

"No, it's true. Nana, I've seen how he looks at me. Even after I stabbed him!"

"Dear, at best, you will have some help with the baby and you might find you actually like the guy if you give him a chance. At worse, he will be no different than I was with Indy. I survived. Are you bringing in a lover to live with you?"

"Nana, I don't have a lover!"

"Then he will be better off than I was because you won't be rubbing in that you love someone else in his face!" bitterness bled into Nana's voice.

Nana sighed, stood up and held out her hand. "Come on dear, get up, let's get your stuff and go to the house. You can make decisions tomorrow once you catch up on sleep."

Ann numbly obeyed.

[1] From song by Lindsey Stirling - "Hold My Heart featuring ZZ Ward" Check it out on YouTube.

Playing House

James was sitting at the kitchen table. "Mom, how is Ann doing?"

"She was getting in the shower about thirty minutes ago. I didn't hear her last night, did you?" Nana poured herself some coffee and sat down.

"I thought I heard her get up a couple of times last night. I know she got up once and got a drink from the kitchen." James, knowing Nana made the coffee, heavily cut his with milk.

"How did you sleep?" Nana sipped her coffee.

"That couch is a killer, seems all soft and comfy but you wake up feeling like your back is going out."

"You really need to burn it, dear. I've told you that old thing is too dangerous to give away."

"Well, Ann's furniture should get moved over today or tomorrow, I'll get my bed back. Plus if I take that position at Alice Springs, I will be on the other side of the planet from the back eating couch."

"Alice Springs, Australia?" Ann stepped into the kitchen wearing a big fluffy bathrobe over medical scrub pants.

James popped up and started over to help Ann when she stopped him with a sharp look.

"James, please, I'm pregnant, not helpless." She walked over, pulled a glass out of the dish rack and pulling a carton out of the fridge, filled her glass with orange juice.

"James, please, sit. I'm fine really." Ann set down at the table looking with lust in her heart at their coffee. "What was that about Alice Springs?"

"They are setting up a deep space command, control and tracking station there. I think I can get on the engineering team that will work there. How are you feeling? You look well." James stopped hovering and sat back down.

"I slept for at least nine solid hours last night. I haven't slept that long at a stretch since I was a freshman in college. I feel great. James, I want to thank you for letting me stay here and I'm really, really sorry about stabbing you."

"You are welcome here, Ann. The house was really an investment, I'm happy you can move in. And as for the other thing, well, I will be more careful when going into a sleeping woman's bedroom should the opportunity ever arise again. Can I fix you some breakfast? I also have blueberries and yogurt."

"Yogurt and blueberries would be perfect, thank you."

James set out a bowl and spoon, then pulled yogurt and blueberries from the fridge. He pulled out a box of granola from the cupboard.

"James, somehow you don't strike me as a yogurt and granola guy." Ann spooned granola and berries on her bowl of yogurt."

"I have it on the best authority that it is official surgeon chow. I stopped in once to check on your apartment and your lieutenant Barkin was complaining that it was the only breakfast food in the kitchen when you left. I think that he ate it rather than throwing it out, but complained anyway."

"Did you run out this morning to get it?" Ann looked at James with narrowed eyes.

"Well, yes. I wasn't stocked to make my own breakfast, much less breakfast for guests."

"James, you need to be taking it easy until that wound heals. Wait, were you driving on painkillers?"

"You can drive when taking ibuprofen. The good stuff makes me groggy, I hate to take it."

"How bad is the pain? Are you feeling any fever?" Ann reached out and put a cool hand on James' face. James' eyes glazed over and he got a far away look. Nana broke out laughing, "I guess he got over the stabbing quickly enough."

James pulled himself together, "What?"

Ann crossed her arms. "James, I want to live in this house with you and once the baby is born, I want you fully involved in raising it."

James looked like he had won the lottery.

"James, we need to discuss boundaries…" Ann started

James was reminded that lottery winnings are taxable.

'Cause Two Out Of Three...

Somehow James thought that having Ann as a roomie meant he would see her more. She was due in three weeks and was determined to work at least half of that before going on maternity leave. This meant that he saw her typically during the week for a late dinner and maybe on Saturday or Sunday she would have the day off. Tonight, she came home late, tired, stiff and in low spirits. So he had offered her a back rub.

"Gotta keep your eye on the prize, son. A happy momma makes a happy baby," thought James as he stuck another pillow under Ann's leg. The books and magazines on pregnancy that he had researched had suggested that for a back rub, he should have Ann lay on her side with pillows seemingly stuffed everywhere for support. The bed being too low, he had placed foam padding on the pool table. He had brought home a couple of fist-sized ball bearings from a rocket thruster gimbal mount. They was the perfect size to roll over stiff muscles and being made of carbide steel, held heat well to provide warmth. He started high on her back and started rolling circles down towards her hips.

"James?"

"Yes, Ann?"

"Thanks for everything you have been doing for me."

"You're welcome Ann." James exchanged the ball bearing he was using with the one warming under a heating pad. Making sure that it wasn't too hot, he started another pass down her back. There was a lot of tension there, surgery must have been brutal today.

"I don't want you to regret having me move in here."

"Why would I do that?"

"You don't get anything in return."

James' brain seized. He cursed that he didn't inherit the ability for smooth talking from his dad. Or his dad's smile that turned women weak in the knees according to Mom. "I get to put my hands on the most beautiful woman in Middleton."

"But I'm not," she wailed, "my skin is blotchy and I'm fat. I've seen you looking at dating sites offering hot astronomer babes. You are going to leave and go to Alice Springs with some hot radio astronomer who will give you everything I'm not."

'Lord, please kill me now before I screw up any more,' thought James. Finding himself still alive, he realized what she had seen. "I wasn't looking at dating sites, those were just ads on the Fan Fiction website. And I turned down the Alice Springs position." James started working on her lower back.

"Fan Fiction?" Ann's tone made it unclear whether that was better or worse than cruising dating sites.

"Yes honey, I was checking up on the Captain Constellation stories. I wrote a couple back in college and I was looking to see what my favorite authors are up to."

"You aren't leaving?"

"No, honey. What's wrong? What happened today?" James stopped working on Ann's back, leaned over her and put his arms around her the best he could.

"An EMT, 20 years old, was on a house fire call. He was only supposed to be there to take fire fighter's blood pressure and stuff like that, make sure that they weren't being overstressed. Part of the house collapsed with a fire fighter inside and he ran in to help pull him out. He did save the man, but something in the house exploded and he was struck by flying debris. When they got him into the OR, they called in me, Peter and Frances. Pete and Fran are the best trauma surgeons in the world! The joke among the residents is that if you give them hamburger, they will give you back the cow. I was working on removing a splinter that had pierced his skull and was causing inter-cranial bleeding, Pete was doing abdominal repair and Fran was working on a piece of metal in his chest that was causing both lung damage and threatening his heart. We worked for over three hours and we were winning! I had finished with his head injury and was assisting Pete who was almost done. Fran was closing up. As God is my witness, we were winning, James! Then it was like his body couldn't take the stress any longer and it just gave up. We couldn't save him!" Ann sobbed.

"We met his mom afterward. His father left them when he was a baby. She is alone now, her son will never give her another hug, talk to her on the phone, she's alone. James, our baby is supposed to help 'save the world'. What if she doesn't come home one day? I don't want to be alone if that happens. Take me to bed James. I want you to make love to me."

James paused trying to get his emotions and thoughts under control.

"James, don't you want to have sex with me? Am I that huge and hideous now?"

"No!, Ann, I've dreamed of being with you ever since I met you. But I don't want you to feel you need to do this when you don't want to be with me that way."

"James, I want you, I need you, I need to have this intimate connection. Can't that be enough for now? Please, James?"

James starting pulling pillows out of the way so he could get her down from the table. 'I guess always knew my heart wasn't coming back from this,' he thought to himself as he gathered Ann into his arms.

Ann's Heart

Ann woke in the middle of the night. She reached over to touch little Kimberly Ann, but her arm only touched cool covers. After bringing their new baby home from the hospital, Ann wanted her baby sleeping next to her. James moved back to his bed as he was afraid of rolling over and smothering the infant. As Ann was breastfeeding, there was no reason for James to get up for nighttime feedings, and as for changing diapers, Ann did that at night to let him sleep. As James had the shorter workday, once her maternity leave ran out, James would get little Kimmy ready for daycare and do the drop off and pick up.

Ann got up and walked into James' bedroom. As she expected, no James. Walking into the living room she saw James outside on the back patio with a wide awake Kimmy bundled up warmly against the cool night air and sitting in a baby sling. James was pointing at the moon and the stars in the sky and telling her all the places that she could go exploring when she got older. Watching the two for a moment, she felt herself fall a little more in love with her Kimmy's geeky father. Slipping quietly back to her bedroom, she crawled back into bed and went to sleep.

James heard a knock at the back gate. "Come on back Calvin! We're on the patio."

Calvin opened the gate and walked over to James and sat in a chair near the pair. "How did you know it was me?"

"Who else besides a rough man would be watching over people sleeping?"

"How's the Doc doing? Is she letting you hold her heart?"

James held Kimmie up so Calvin could see her clearly.

"This is Ann's heart, Calvin. And she trusts me to hold it."

"I understand you two are going to have another?"

"in a couple of years or so. Ann's heart is certainly big enough to cover another child. I have hope that it will cover me someday.

Kimmie fussed a little. "Got to get her back inside to Ann, sounds like she is hungry. And from past experience, I need to warm Kimmie-cub's lips up a bit first."

"You are a good man James, see you around."

"Calvin, don't be a stranger."