Liv was brushing her teeth and humming, "Grigio Girls" by Lady Gaga when Kelly stumbled in to go pee.
"Morning love," she states, spitting out her toothpaste.
"Morning Baby, did you hit your head, you're singing Lady Gag Me?"
"That's what that is? Well, it's catchy, Viv's had it in heavy rotation." She glances over at him." Wait, how'd you know what it was?"
"Sylvie keeps playing it in the ambo, you can hear it all over the apparatus floor."
He finished up and washed his hands. He looped his arms around her shoulders and bent down to drop a kiss on the crown of her head. "What?" she asks.
"Nothin', you just make my heart happy."
"I do huh? Good, will you make my heart happy and go wake up the demon baby, and put her on the potty?"
"She's not, okay, in the morning she's not all a nice person, but I wouldn't-" he paused in thought "Yes I would, she's a demon."
"Good Morning Klairey Baby." He said flipping her lights on as she burrows deeper into her blankets while cuddling her pillow. "Did you sleep well?"
"Hush Kelly." She muttered.
"Klaire, I'm Daddy!"
"Hush Kelly, please." She clarified.
"Liv she just called me Kelly, I don't like it. Make her stop." He shouts out.
"Take her to pee before she wets the bed!"
"Kelly!" Klaire giggled hiding her face in the pillow.
"You little brat!" He teased picking her up.
Liv is putting on her yoga pants when Kelly comes in and gets Klaire situated on the toilet. "Okay! Go pee sister!"
"Hold hands, Daddy!"
"Klaire that's weird baby, just relax and go potty."
"I need too!" she begs, reaching out she holds on to the fingers of his right hand.
"Baby, holding my hand doesn't help you go, and it's weird why do you do that?"
"She thinks she'll fall in, just hold her hand, Kelly."
"You got her? I'm gonna get Aaron ready, and fix up that icebox pie Daddy asked for."
"You're not baking for Sunday dinner? You really might be sick."
"Oh no, I totally am just doubling up, Jay, Erin, Sydney, and I think Borelli is coming with Rain."
"I got her, how you think Borelli's gonna last?"
"We got a pot going, you want in?" The sound is muffled by her putting on her top.
"What's the minimum?"
"Twenty, I also have a bet with Viv to see how far O makes through dinner until Jay's presence drives him to violence."
"Daddy I done, wipes please."
"Do they have bets on us?'
"Just when you'll knock me up again.." She says, grining as she pulled up her hair."That's not funny."
"We make beautiful babies."
"Still not funny."
"Uh, huh says the guy who hates condoms."
Owen makes it exactly thirty minutes into the meal before bailing, and Liam slips Liv a twenty over the salad bowl. "Thank you, I can now buy that overpriced shampoo I use."
"You buy twenty dollar shampoo?" Kelly asked.
"It's usually like sixty with conditioner and leave-in-treatments, there's a sale and Liam is easy to fleece."
"What?" He asked completely boggled.
"Her hair is your thing right like, you like it? It doesn't look like that by itself, and right Liam is easy money." Erin said.
"Remember that time we convinced him the tooth fairy had in-flight service fee?" Viv snickered.
"That was awesome, I'm going to do that with Klaire's Easter loot tell her the bunny has a hop fee and take all her Reeses eggs." she says forking up a bite of salad.
"Don't do that to my sweet pea." Cole interjected.
"You're evil, and I love you." Kelly tacked on."
"So, is no one going to give Borelli the third degree?" Liv asked. "I mean honestly it only seems fair, Kelly straight up got grilled like Bar-B-Que."
"Seriously, what she said. You actually asked me what my intentions were with your daughter."
L Iv shrugged. "To be fair, I did tell Mommy you were a whore with commitment issues."
"If I'm a whore, you're a whore."
"And that's as close to the Notebook as I'll ever get."
Borelli nods at Kelly. "You're different at work."
"Is work Kelly a hard ass?" Rainey asks.
"I have to be, and trust me you want it that way, if I go easy on him he could die."
"When you're teaching people to hold the lives of others in their hands? You can't be friends. I make great doctors, not friends."
"You and Carver just got so much more twisted…" Erin remarked.
"You think that's why the sex was bad?" Liv inquired.
"You slept with your teacher?" Grady asks.
"Sorry, Mama Mara."
"Sorry, Mommy, we forgot about the little pitchers."
During the next shift, they get word that the truck company will be adding a fireman. Kelly doesn't give it much thought until he realizes who it is.
Then Stella Kidd arrives and his stomach drops. Liv is not going to be happy.
Kidd watches as Severide walks into Molly's with the redhead rolling behind him that Gabi has said was his wife. Lizzie or something like that. She's pretty in that delicate prissy way porcelain dolls are.
She didn't think that was Kelly's type but the girl has curves to die for and Red hair, She'd pay good money for but it looks natural.
She rolls up to the table set to wheelchair height specifications. Apparently, Herrmann, had it built for her.
She strips out of Kelly's leather jacket and is wearing a white backless top and jeans. She watches as Kelly ducks down to press a kiss to the base of her neck. "What, ya want baby?"
"Margarita double shot Patron Silver."
"Specific order." She comments as Kelly approaches.
"She used to tend bar in college, I guess specifics stick."
"Margarita on the rocks-"
"I heard her. And for you?" Gabi said.
"Just one of those root beers I know Hermann keeps stocked for his kids. I'm the DD tonight. Erin ditched out on girls night for Jay, so I'm her girl tonight."
Kidd laughs. "You're her girl?"
"Girl, Guy, Best Friend, Husband, I try to embody all the labels."
"I have a baby daughter at home so yes, I can embrace my inner girly girl for a kick-ass rendition of "A Part Of Your World."
"You wanna be where the people are?" Gabi asked sliding him the drinks.
"At this point, I'd just settle for where the potty trained are." he says on a sigh.
"You're different." Kitt snorts back a laugh.
Kelly waits until Gabi's out of earshot. "That thing between us you never told anyone? Not even Gabi?"
"I'd rather the house not know, but I have to tell my wife, I can't keep it from her because that's not what we do. I hope you're okay with that because I refuse to lie to her even by omission."
"And I'm being beckoned." he turned drinks in hand and headed to his table.
"We're in a selfie war. Come be prettier than Halstead."
"Jackass is going to dump her on the floor again for that dip kiss in 3...2.." Gabi says returning to Stella's side.
"Kelly! Put me down!"
"She good people?"
"Livvy? Hell yeah, she makes him better and she's family."
"Oh they were fooling around in Quarters a few months back and he tipped her over... there was this huge crash and...you kinda had to be there Matt had to pick them up off the floor."
"No! I don't trust you! Gabi! Sylvie! I swear to God Kelly if end up on the floor again!"
"Compromise!" He squats down in front of her to kiss her.
"He could've just sat down beside her."
"He will eventually. He takes an odd amount of pride in how long he can stay like that."
"Don't imply they're any different than any other couple to Kelly alright, he is crazy about her and super sensitive to her."
Meanwhile at their table.
"Your legs hurt yet? I'm sorry I can't empathize with your situation."
He kissed her again deeper before standing again and she snapped a photo.
"Wanna hear my work gossip?"
"Nat and Will make me glad we don't work together because if we did? We'd only fight and then have angry sex."
"Maggie is still awesome and my favorite." She began ticking points off on her fingers.
"Rhoades is going to fall asleep and drown in his soup sometime soon."
"There is something weird goin' with Choi and I am now tolerating April."
"My work gossipy secret thing wanna hear it?" He reaches out to hold her hand.
"Uh, will it piss me off or make me ugly cry in public?"
"I hope not, just remember I love you alright, more than anybody."
"Oh okay, who did you fuck? Was it Brett? Because Rainey said she totally hit up on Borelli and struck out and I always thought she had a thing for you."
He stays quiet. "Kelly, I was jokin' what did you do?"
"The new girl on truck at the bar we hooked up."
"Way before I met you it didn't matter and I have no desire to do so again."
"Okay, and She knows that? She knows there's not going to be any repeat performances right?"
"Yes, I told her as much."
"Okay thank you for telling me."
"Okay? That's it? Just okay?"
"Well I can't judge you, I see Carver daily and we a whole lot more than hooked up."
"So, she slept with you. She was one of many, I'll be last. She was a conquest I'm your wife."
He leaned over the table. "You surprise me Liv." He kissed her.
"And you don't surprise me at all. You have had more bed partners than Abraham has sons."
"Don't be ashamed it's made you very, very, good."
"You're cute." He grins at her proudly.
"You should send Dr. Charles some cigars or something. I used a lot of my therapy techniques. He's helped."
"I'm glad it's helped, drink that so I can liquor you up and take you home."
She took a sip. "Be right back."
"Liv I don't want to create drama in the house."
"I got this, trust me."
And she rolls off.
"Liv Severide, Stella Kidd, right? I'm Kelly's wife." She offers her hand.
"Word round the house is your possessive and a tad neurotic, should I be worried?"
She dropped into a whisper. "You are in Kelly's past and it's going to stay like that so, you only need to worry if you cross the boundaries he sets and I hear about it. Alright?"
"It's nice to meet you, welcome to the 51 family. I suppose if my Gab likes you and Kelly liked you well enough I guess you gotta be alright? Friends?"
"Good, I'm going to finish my drink and hang with my guy, have a good night."
She watches as rolls back over and stops in front of Kelly with a dazzling smile. They speak in low tones before he catches her face in his hands and kisses her, it seems soft and lingering like Kelly can't believe what he's gotten ahold of. "Keep it PG Severides!" Gabi calls out.
"Don't stare at her too hard either, that pisses all of us off. Unless you're attracted to her, in which case wrong sister." Gabi advises.
"That's a defense, Liv's a sweetheart."
"This is me being PG Bitch! He's still got clothes on." She calls back with they finally stop to breathe.
Kelly's phone rang. "Hello, What? Vivi slow down, She what? Is she breathing?"
"What Kelly!?" LIv asks growing alarmed.
"Klaire's heart stopped again. Put him in the car and follow behind her. We're on our way to Med."
"Gimmie the phone I need her stats."
"Vivi's not tracking baby, she's too freaked. We're leaving now Viv.
"Bar's closing folks." Gabi tossed Kidd the keys. "Just turn out the lights and lock the door, red key."
"I'll drive you guys."
They drove at breakneck speeds to the hospital only to be stopped from going into the Baghdad trauma room by Maggie.
"Maggie I swear to god, I will go through you, right fucking now." Liv growls.
"This isn't me, I promise Livvy. I'd let you in you know I would, but this came down from Goodwin. You're a mother right now, not a doctor. She said she'd revoke your privileges."
Liv laughs, a low scary sound that Kelly really doesn't like. "Oh, I'd love to see her try."
Nat runs up even going so far as to grab Liv's wheels to keep her still. "Nattie."
"I get it." Nat says letting it hang there. Liv's eyes sting at the kindness in her tone.
"I need her stats," Liv says quietly. "I just- I need to know."
"I'll get them.
"Thank you, Do you know where my sister is?"
"She's in the doctors' lounge with Aaron."
"You go check on Viv and I'll stay here. They may not let us in right now but that doesn't mean we have to move."
She nods and rolls away.
When she gets to the lounge, she finds Vivi perched on one of the couches clutching to Aaron so tightly it looks as if her child is trying to wriggle away with the power of his mind. Normally it'd make her smile, now it just scares her.
Her wheelchair wheel rim clanks against the glass door as she lets go. Vivi looks up and completely dissolves. "She just collapsed. Right over, and I froze." Liv crosses the room gathering Viv as close as she can.
"You didn't freeze, you got her here."
"Her heart stopped. It stopped Livvy, you taught me to listen and I couldn't hear anything and then she stopped breathing." Vivianne sobbed.
"It's okay Viv, its gonna be okay."
"You trusted me."
Liv kissed her temple. "I still trust you."
Aaron attempts to climb up Liv's side.
She picks up Aaron who holds her so tight she knows he's feeding off their collective anxiety. She breathes deep and even humming whatever tune is stuck in her head. Until his breathing matches her own and his grip loosens from choking to holding on for comfort.
She kisses his forehead and breathes him in, he smells of melted chocolate, dirt, and baby sweat. He smells like little boy. It gives her a tiny bit of peace, in the midst of her internal and external chaos.
There's a tap on the glass of the door and she looks back to find Doctor Charles. "They're ready for you."
She nods "Stay with my sister please." He nods in return. She goes to roll out forgetting she still has Aaron in her lap.
"You must be the man they call A. Shay? Would you come with me?" He holds out his hands and her son looks between them.
"It's okay bud." He goes easily to Dr. Charles and momentarily Liv is shocked by the power of the comforting Dad vibe he gives off then kicks into action as she headed for Klaire.
If she wasn't already scared to her bones, what she finds rolling out of the break room would terrify her. Kelly is pale, and trembling slightly as he listens to whatever Rhoades is saying. Kelly is scared, she doesn't think she's ever seen her man scared. Nervous, rattled, grieving but never this frightened.
It makes the dread coiling in her gut double up.
She speeds over to him and without looking at her he runs his hand down her arm to hold her hand. She'd forgotten until just now how aware of her Kelly always is. It's an odd realization in the midst of chaos.
She looks to Rhoades. "How bad?"
"Bad. We keep losing the rhythm the WPW re-routed itself and it's putting added stress on the already overworked valve, the ovale is reguring into her pulmonary systems."
"How many times has her heart stopped?"
"Olivia, I'd rather not know that." Kelly says.
"It's stopped enough that I think you need to fast-track the cone procedure." Rhoades answers his eyes sad and his mouth set in a grim line.
"Holmby has never done one, he was referring us to the Mayo for that when it became inevitable, she might not make a flight let alone a protracted ambo ride."
"I've never done one, but Downey has. I'm not afraid, I can do this Liv."
"What's a cone procedure?" Kelly asks.
"Your daughter's malformed tricuspid valve doesn't close properly, which means that when the heart contracts, pushing blood from the right atrium to the right ventricle. Instead of doing so normally it spits the blood back into the atrium."
My wife has explained the Ebstein's I understand, this I don't. What is the surgery."
"Remember when I told you that the valve leaflets are too low? And that one was seated on the wall?" Liv reminded him.
"He's going to rebuild it all. It's open heart though."
"Shit, she's two Liv."
"I can do it, it's not without risk, because she is so tiny. I can do it. I wouldn't tell you I could otherwise."
"Downey is good and so is Rhoades, if they say it's doable I trust them. And you trust me right?" Liv said looking up at him.
"To put it in smoke eater terms, Downey is the cardio equivalent of Benny and Rhoades is you."
"Dad was crazy. Talented but crazy."
"So is Downey. We gotta do it, Kell. We're wasting time."
"I know. Do it." He said squeezing Liv's hand for reassurance.
"You can see her while we prep. But we gotta go now."
"Livvy why is she blue?"
"She's not oxygenating well. Jesus, these stats Kelly."
"I see em."
"They'll need to intubate. I'm not sure I can watch but I can't leave…" Liv's voice broke. "Where's my Mom?"
"Would doing it yourself help?" April whispered coming in. "That way you have some control."
"They wouldn't let me."
"Girl, they can't reprimand what they don't see." She nods. "Mags and me we got you. No one is better at placing peds ET tubes than you."
"Thank you, and even though I am a huge control freak and I want too, I know I can't and not just because it'll cost me my license, I'm shaking too bad."
"Can I sing to her as you put her under?" Kelly asks. "I sing her to sleep, it's totally made up and I'm awful but she loves it."
Kelly steps up putting his hand through her hair. "Goodnight Klairey, good night girl, we'll wake tomorrow rise so happy to greet the world. "Goodnight sweet girl."
Her eyes dipped closed her kissed her forehead and Liv kisses her hand and looks away as the tube goes and the vent is set.
"I'll be right back. She needs something, it'll take me thirty seconds to get it." Kelly's eyebrows rise and April nods as Liv wheels back to the doctors' lounge and yanks the medal she keeps in her lab pocket out.
She returns stuffing the medal into Klaire's hand. "Patron Saint of the impossible. Figured I'd stack the deck."
Kelly takes off his, putting it in her other hand. "It's her favorite." Kelly's voice breaks.
"Kiss her and love her up fast we gotta go." Rhoades sweeps in.
Liv extends her chair to the standing position and leans carefully over Klaire to kiss her forehead. "Alright sweetheart, this is tough and it sucks and Mama is so sorry. I hate that you're two and I'm telling you to take this on the chin and keep coming but I need you too, I need you to hang tough for just a little longer, okay? Please, please-" Liv's voice breaks. She kisses her cheeks and her nose. "I love you."
She sits down, giving Kelly his turn. She not expecting his simple forehead kiss and quiet "Please God." Whispered into the air but it is exactly what Liv is thinking as well, it fits the moment.
Kelly steps back.
And Klaire is rolled off.
"Rhoades has got it." Liv says hoping it's true. Kelly simply nods kissing the top of her head.
They turn and walk wordlessly from the trauma room.
They find their entire family in the waiting room. When Owen of all people hugs Kelly tightly Liv's eyes sting with unshed tears.
"Grayne phone tree." Is all Gabi says when she looks at her.
Liv expects one of her parents to rush up but they don't they're standing with Viv and Aaron as everyone watches them speed past with Klaire.
Grady steps up and hugs her and kisses her cheek. It's not a quick hug either. He hangs on tight. So very tight. "You don't have too. We're in public."
His reply falls into her hair and chokes her up.
"Your baby is sick, and you can't do anything. Autism makes it hard for me to understand people but, I've felt helpless and confused, and sad, I can't read emotions them but I feel them. When I feel them Mom hugs me, this tight, so I'm hugging you this tight in public."
"Thank you, Grady." She kisses his cheek. He either doesn't notice the red lip print or doesn't care to remove it.
Sarah Anne gasps as they rush Klaire to the elevators. "She's not breathing?"
"Bagging her, and later the vent will make it easier on her heart if her lungs aren't having to work as hard to keep up with her heart. They may even bypass her, I'm not sure...I can't...I can't remember the steps, Kelly...I don't..."
"What's bypass?" Tess asks and Kelly has never wanted to tell the child to shut up more in his entire life.
"Bypass is a machine that does the work of the heart without making the heart work while they fix it." Dr. Charles answers.
"The panic...I'm starting..."
"Kelly, can you be her touchstone right now?"
"Touch her... it grounds her in the now and not in the ifs."
He squats down taking her face in his hands. "Just breathe with me, baby..."
"Listen to him, Kelly always makes you feel safe. Let him do that. Just focus on him. His hands, his eyes, and just breathe."
"Fear is human, baby." Kelly takes over. "acknowledge it, and move forward. We're fucking terrified. That's just what it is. What do we do about it?"
"Take like ten Xanax?"
"Two." Dr. Charles adds.
"What if I just sent her to her death."
"What if you just sent her to renewed life Olivia," Kelly said.
"I like your inner voice better than mine.."
"I always win with Klaire you know that."
Will Halstead watched April check a couple Xanax out of the med closet for Liv Severide and he listens quietly as Charles asks the indomitable Liv if she'd taken her bipolar meds? "No, I skipped a dose Kelly took me out for margaritas and thought it best not to mix. But I only got like two sips in before the call.
"Okay, go ahead and take everything in an hour the alcohol should metabolize out."
"I didn't know, I have stopped drinking as much because you said it masks the cycles worse I was just-"
"You were having fun with your husband. It's not a crime sweetheart." He hears the kind retort.
He slips into the now empty doctors' lounge and dials his brother hoping he'll pick up.
"Hey Will, I'm a little busy."
"Screwing Erin in the happiness bubble I'm aware. Get Erin to Med and I mean now, they just took the Severides' baby back for open heart surgery and they're rightfully terrified."
"What're you saying?"
"I'm saying they're doing an open heart valve repair on a two-year-old with a doctor who's done a couple overseeing but the guy doing it? The last baby the man operated on died so he might be a tad shook and nothing is for sure, so just fucking get your girl here."
Benny Severide's phone rings and gets up from the dinner table to answer.
'"Wallace, good to hear from you."
"Probably not after this, Klaire just went back for her surgery. The big one they've been putting off."
"Flying will be faster. Pick me up?"
"Tell my boy I'm coming."
Kelly is pulled aside by Boden and needing to feel connected and grounded stil, Liv asks. "Daddy this is going to sound really weird but can I sit in your lap?"
"Liv you're in your thirties, people will stare." Owen puts.
"Shut up Owen Alexander. People stare anyway." Her mother chastises.
"I never turn down cuddles from my girls regardless of age or circumstance come here."
She curls into his lap as Kelly comes back.
"Wife stealer." He teases.
"She was mine first so there." It elicits a soft laugh from Liv which they both enjoy.
He simply takes the seat that Owen vacates and holds Liv's hand.
"Klaire's gonna want to cuddle with me when she's thirty right?"
"I'm 34 but yes, as long as you mean comfort and safety. April gave me the Xanax early and said she was praying for us, I know I shouldn't but it's making me sleepy."
"You sleep I'll pace then we can trade. My dad's coming."
"That's good Kelly, I mean he's trying to do right by you babe."
"I know, I'm just not used to needing him, or wanting him. I mean my Mom, yeah but she's a basket case and I can't lay that on either of us now so, maybe Benny can help."
"Let him try babe." She says drowsily looping her arms around Cole's neck.
"Dude you're the reason she cuddles like that I wake up every morning with her arm thrown across me.
"Liv had major separation anxiety when we got her. Her arm goes here because here, she can feel breath and pulse and knew you physically could not leave without her knowing. It's why she's so tactile."
"And I just like Kelly."
When Benny arrives they're silent for a bit before Kelly speaks.
"When I was a kid there were a few years where I thought what you did for a living was cool. I mean obviously, I became you, pretty much literally. "
"Liv asked me to hang it up, and I acted like I didn't resent it, I mean I do and I don't. I resent it because she doesn't understand what giving that up is, but then I don't because the request came from genuine love..." He says staring at the coke machine.
"And I'm a Dad, and it gets harder and harder to compartmentalize than before. I just... and then there was a time in my life I was terrified you wouldn't come home, that I wasn't worth coming home too because you just kept going back for more. Hell Dad, you'd still do it if health allowed." He sighed.
"Pop, if Klaire makes it through this she'll live a whole life, and she'll understand what I do she'll feel that fear but not understand me and I'm not sure I can do that to my babies, or Liv. Yeah, it's in my blood but so are they you know?"
Benny makes sure to catch Kelly's gaze by leaning into his eyeline."I do, I know I fucked my kids up, but I did love them the best way I knew how. I love you Kelly and I'm proud of you. If you think leaving behind active duty is the most effective way to love and keep your family. Then do it, but make sure it's your choice, because if you lay it off on other people. If you put that on Liv you'll lose her, and that you'll regret more than the rush of the fire being gone."
"Dad, I- thank you."
"We should probably go find Liv, I'm not sure how long this surgery is going to last."
He finds her still in Cole's arms covered with his leather jacket. He walks over and brushes the hair from her face to press a kiss to her forehead. It rouses her from her barely-there sleep.
She jerks awake "It's okay, she's okay. Nothing's happened. " She inhales sharply in relief.
She cracks her neck smiling a little. "Hey Benny."
Cole slides over the bench style seat so Kelly and Benny can sit. Liv transfers into Kelly's lap. "So how long with this thing take?" He asks against the crown of her head. "Eight hours minimum."
"So a fucking eternity for us."
Time passes way too slow. Kelly holds her and they sit in deep silence. The world moves around them at regular speed but he feels as if he's a step or two behind. It happens sometimes happens in the midst of a firefight and that usually precedes disaster but he's trying not to go there as equally hard as Liv is.
Eventually Erin shows up and pulls her into a game of Goldfish. He's disqualified for being a cheating cheater, who cheats. Liv's words.
Matt stands next to him. "You alright you aren't registering to much around you."
"The adrenaline is fading, I- Wait where's Aaron?"
"I has him!" Hadley strides over a little wonkily with him on her hip. Now seven Hadley is losing her baby like appearance and she's learning more and more every day. She can count to twenty three and read small sentences and write her own name. Though her language skills are still a bit off. "Hi Kelly, you can have Aaron."
"Oh my God, did she just say my name properly?"
"That was a complete sentence." Liv shrieks. "A long one!"
"Mommy! She just said Kelly's name correctly in a sentence."
"We've been working on stuff haven't we baby girl. Watch this? Hadley say Olivia."
"No, she still Libby."
"I'll gladly always be Libby. I love you Hads. I needed a bright spot."
"I love you, I play?" She gestured to their card game. He watches as Liv draws Hadley into her lap to teach her the game.
Life doesn't make the least bit of sense right now. Though he can still hold his son and watch his wife be herself even as fragmented as it all feels now, he can still feel Liv.
"Hey Olivia," he calls and she looks up at his use of her given name. He winks at her. "I love you more than Hadley does!" Hadley scowls at him.
"Liar." She says simply.
He laughs he can't help it.
Kelly slips through the chapel doors. "Baby." He whispers. Liv holds up an arm from where she's lying in a pew. "What're you doing?"
"You know God doesn't require you to whisper." She leans up on her elbows. "People who typically dislike me, are being nice. Choi my stiff upper lip work husband who calls me on my shit, hugged me!"
"So…?" He laughs moving to the pew.
"It's fucking weird, and Nat! Nat just keeps looking at me like 'thank God that isn't me!' I couldn't take the crowd of family, so I'm here praying. Would you care to join me?
He lifts her up and sits down with her leaned into him.
He reaches for his medal belatedly realizing he'd given the medal to Klaire. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." Kelly whispers.
Liv breaks off a sob. "You know I've been trying to teach Klaire the fireman's prayer."
"About that I've been thinking, after my contract is up I'm going to try to get on with arson."
Liv leans up. "Kelly when I said-"
"This isn't about that baby, it's about me. It's about me wanting to be a better Dad. Because if I stay because I like the rush, because of my savior complex, I'll die because there's no off button or line I won't toe. I have to do it different for Klaire and Aaron if I'm going to be the Dad they deserve."
"Are you sure Kelly I mean completely sure?"
He nods. "That passion will fade, they won't."
"Klaire could die, and I believe she won't I have faith she won't. This woke me up though I have to be a more present father and husband."
She kissed him. "I love you."
"We've never made out in a church wanna give it a go."
"Who made you the way you are?" Liv asked laughingly.
Their pagers go off.
"She's out lets go!"
Rhoades meets them at the door of her PICU room. "Liv she did good, her valve functions perfectly. That's not to say she might not have further complications later, she may and we'll still have to monitor her functionality and see how she does without meds."
Liv exhales for what feels like the first time in ages. "She's fussy but awake I thought you guys might wanna say hi before the nurses dose her again."
Liv waits a beat to gather herself. "Thank you isn't enough Connor."
"Yeah it is. Go see your kid."
Kelly is first through the door. "Liv…"
"Why is she restrained?"
"To keep her from moving or tearing at the stitchwork."
"Liv..I can't…see her like this." He sounds as if he's about to cry.
She rolls to the side of the crib. She lowers the railing, pushing her chair to stand. She reaches out stroking Klaire's hair. "Yes, you can."
Klaire's crying eases a bit at the sound of Liv's voice. "Hi my love, you did it baby girl."
She looks over to Kelly leaning on the end of the crib crying. "Kelly…"
"I know I need to suck it up."
"No, crying is okay. You always lose your shit afterward I know that. I was going to say, you should come sing her to sleep." She says hitting the pain pump button.
He nods taking up the other side of the crib. "How about a little Don Williams Klairey Girl."
As he launches into "I Believe You." Liv smiles at his choice.
He kisses Klaire's forehead. And continues singing as her eyes slip shut.
They stay there like that, staring at her and the heart monitor alternately, until they're made to leave. As they're only allowed so long.
Liv has never considered herself religious, merely spiritual but today she is grateful for the gold medals hanging on her crib, for every prayer said, all of the fate, and grace that got them here.
Because they're all here and whole.
I own nothing but my original characters. Thanks so much to my friend Elle for the edit.
I do not own the music mentioned.
if you liked it please let me know!-MM