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A Mother's Prerogative

by Stargazer

Disclaimers: They're not mine. I just borrow them to play with them. Thanks to Petfly for creating this wonderful duo to play with!  Don't bother sueing me, as all my money is spent <g>!
Angst warning: high
Rating: PG for a few "bad" words.
Thanks:  To Izzy and Night Owl for betaing it for me. To Graywulf for housing my stories on her website, and to all the listsibs at Cascade Times and Cascade Times Asylum for keeping me sane during my times of worry over Little Ballerina.  This is my thank you to all of you and my way of working through everything. Hope you enjoy it!  As always, comments appreciated.  It makes me want to write more!  Dedicated to Lil Ballerina,
who inspired this story after having recent foot surgery.

I came here to surprise my son. Instead I ended up with the surprise. Ha! The surprise of a lifetime, and not one I really want to repeat again, if ever! I sit here, watching him lying in that bed, wondering when he'll wake up. If he'll wake up. Oh, God. I'm not a very religious person; but, if there is a God, I sure hope he hears my prayers. I mean, I can't lose my one and only son! No! I won't accept losing him. Never! Never, God! You hear me? Never! You'll *never* take Blair from me! I'd rather give my own life up before you take my only child.

I can't stand sitting here, feeling totally useless, just waiting. Watching and waiting. Waiting and watching.  Damn! When did these chairs get so hard and uncomfortable? I check the time on the clock. They always have clocks -- can't turn around without spotting one. Time seems to have ceased moving forward. I feel like I'm stuck in a time warp. Will I ever get out of it?

Will my son survive? The doctors said they have done all they could for him. Now it's up to him and time. They said his body has to heal itself now. They've given him all the antibiotics his body can handle, pushing fluids into him through those horrible IV's. He has so many tubes coming out of him, I don't know where to touch him. Can he feel my touch? Does he know I'm here? Of course he doesn't know I'm here! He's unconscious, for God's sake! I need to reach him some how and tell him I love him and that I want him to live. We'll work everything out, even if he ends up paralyzed from that damn bullet lodging so close to his spine?  We waited for 8 long agonizing hours while he was in surgery. There's been more of the same waiting for him to come out of anesthesia. And now we're just waiting for him to wake up. It's been an awful 24 hours filled with anticipation.

I look around the room and see and hear all the machinery keeping tabs on my son. I quickly slide my eyes past the room's other occupant, who is doing the same vigil as I.   He's tried to apologize to me, but what for? He's at fault for everything and nothing. I want to blame him for my son being in this condition. Here. Now. In the hospital. Are we doing a vigil to wait for him to die or to continue living?

It's so scary not being able to do anything concrete for my son. All I can do is hold his hand, carefully, being mindful of the IV's taped to it and to his arm. I give his fingers a gentle squeeze, hoping that he will feel it, even in his unconscious state. Letting him know that his mother is here, waiting for him, caring for him, worrying about him, loving him.

I try not to get angry over the situation, but it's so hard, you know? I've worried about him all his life. I fretted about him when I was pregnant with him. When he lay cuddled in my arms as an infant and as a toddler - running around on unsteady legs. I was distressed when him going to school for the first time. I cried that day - my child was no longer a baby.  I anxious when he broke his arm falling out of a neighbour's tree. I worried about him when he went off to college. Was he eating enough? Getting enough sleep? Was he making friends? He'd always say, "Yes, Mom, I'm doing fine, so stop worrying!"  I laugh silently to myself as I remember this. Oh, man, how do you stop a mother from worrying? How?

I look at the clock. A half-hour has passed and no signs of him waking up. I stand up, trying to ease the growing pain in my buttocks. I walk around the room, pacing. My caftan swishes as I walk. The other watcher attempts to grab my arm, to stop my pacing, but I shrug him off. I shake my head in a silent plea to let me continue my walking. I need to do something to wear off this nervous energy. He doesn't understand my worry. He'll never understand my worry.  He's a man, a man who's never been a father. Who's never seen his child grow up and known the worry. It all comes down to worry.

God, I hate that word! *Worry*. I pace some more, fingering the skirt of my gown, and feel the delicate fabric start to tear under the pressure of my fingers.  As I turn around to pace in the other direction, I am stopped by a body directly in front of me. I try to step around it, but arms come out to block my escape.  I refuse to look up at the man who is impeding my pacing.  I mutely shake my head, trying to ward him off, trying to tell him to leave me alone. I don't want comforting. I need to continue my worrying. If I don't worry, he won't make it. I'll lose my precious son if I don't worry. Worrying makes it real. It makes me feel connected to my son, even though he doesn't know I'm here.

Arms reach out and gently enfold me into an embrace. I shake my head again and try to pull back, to step away.  The arms are too strong and force me to stop. He steps closer and makes body contact with me, pulling me in with his powerful hold. I stand stiffly and refuse to meld to his body -- to take his silently offered commiseration.  I shake my head as he whispers in my ear. He gently rests his head on top of mine, rubbing his hands up and down my back, trying to get me to relax. I try one more time to break free, and he only tightens his arms around me. Finally I can't hold in my anguish anymore and break down. A tear slips down my cheek and soaks into his shirt.

He whispers to me softly to let it out, let the anguish out, he's here for me. The floodgates open and I can't stop crying. He tells me that he's worried too.  He also whispers that he's so very sorry that my son is lying in that bed. He feels that it should have been him. I shake my head no, splashing tears off my face. I rest my forehead against his chest.  He strokes my hair and tenderly kisses my brow. He gives me a hug, then gently pushes me away from him. He cups my chin and brings my head up, forcing me to look up at him. He gently wipes away the tears on my face and asks if I feel better.  I give a small nod.

I tell him it doesn't take the worry away, that's a mother's right; but I do feel emotionally better now that the tension has eased a little. I can't stay angry with someone who loves my son as much as I do. Oh, my. When did I realize that? Never mind. I guess he does worry about my son just like I do.

I shrug my shoulders and shake my hair in a nervous gesture. I attempt to paste a watery smile on my face. He smiles back at me, and I notice his eyes are shining with unshed tears too. My, what a pair we are. 

He turns his head quickly to look toward the bed. He quickly steps over to the bed and calls the Blair's name softly. The eyes open slowly, then drift shut. He fights to open his eyes again and produces a fleeting smile.  I watch the interchange between these two friends.  My heart melts as they silently communicate with each other.

I am beckoned over, and my son's eyes open wider in surprise.  He tries to speak, and his voice comes out cracked and soft.  I lay my fingers over his lips and shush him.  I tell him it's okay and that he'll be okay. We're here to take care of him.  His lips turn up in a slight smile and his eyes slide shut, even though he is fighting it.  I tell him to sleep, that we aren't going anywhere.

I look at his friend, still standing vigil over my son, and he puts his arm out, beckoning me to come to his side again. I take one step and am drawn to him. I embrace him, laying my head against his chest. We watch my son sleeping now. Just sleeping.  He gives me a squeeze and I return it, thankful that there is someone else to share the worry.

My son has cheated death again. How many more times will this happen? How many more times won't I know about his perils? Hmmmm... I still have to ask him about his drowning. I *still* worry about that one! What's a mother to do, but worry about her child? I guess you'd say it's a mother's prerogative.


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