A/N: I'm so sorry that it is taking me so long to get these chapters written and posted - as I've said, being in school again has taken most of my writing time these days. Still, I do enjoy my breaks and having the chance to delve into this story when I can - I have some fun things planned in the next few chapters, so I hope to get those to you in a much shorter interval! As always, thank you all so much for your patience and your continued reviews and messages!
Abby felt as though her heart might race out of her chest that evening as she stood near the doorway of Brody's room and watched the doctor and nurses adjust the machines and tubes at his bedside in preparation for what they were about to do. After what felt like an eternity, one of the nurses turned and motioned for her to come over. She wasn't quite sure how she made it across the room, but she slowly walked over and stood where the nurse indicated.
"You can hold his hand if you'd like," the nurse said. "This won't take long."
Abby nodded as she slipped her hand into his, still not quite sure what to expect.
"How long has it been since sedation was discontinued?" Dr. Harrison asked from his spot at the head of the bed.
"Thirty minutes," one of the nurses said.
"That should be just about enough," he said, leaning forward and putting a hand on Brody's shoulder, jostling him slight. "John? John, wake up. That's it, open your eyes, John."
Abby squeezed his hand as he slowly opened his eyes, the drowsiness caused by the medications still evident in his eyes as the adjusted to the light.
"I'm right here, John," she said, squeezing his hand again. "I'm right here."
"John, you've done really well on our tests this afternoon, so we're going to get that tube out of your throat now," Dr. Harrison said. "I need you to focus on me, this is something you've got to help us with, alright?"
Brody hesitated for a moment, locking eyes with Abby before nodding slowly.
To Abby, the ensuing minutes seemed to drag on forever, and yet were over in the blink of an eye at the same time. She was certain she hadn't taken a breath of her own from the moment the nurses shut off the ventilator until the tube was out and Brody was successfully breathing on his own. She managed to hold it together while the staff ran their tests and monitored his vital signs for a few minutes, and then suddenly, the nurse was patting her on the shoulder in reassurance and the two of them were alone.
"Hi," she half-whispered, not sure she wouldn't burst into tears if she tried to say anything more.
"Hi," Brody replied, his voice hoarse and cracking from the breathing tube. "What…what happened?"
Abby sighed as she pulled up a chair and sat down at his side, remembering the doctor's earlier admonition that the trauma of the shooting was very likely to have affected his memory to some degree.
"What do you remember?" she asked hesitantly.
Brody frowned as he thought back. "I was on patrol with Richie," he said. "There was a call…a robbery…I remember radioing in that we'd respond…nothing after that."
Abby nodded. "You two were first on scene," she said. "There were two perps, both armed. You and Richie, you were both shot."
"He's fine," Abby assured him quickly. "It was just his shoulder, the shot was through-and-through. They basically just bandaged him up and sent him home with a prescription for PT."
"Good. That's good."
The two of them sat in silence for a few moments, Abby holding tightly to his hand as she watched him take in his surroundings and struggle to connect his last memories to this moment.
"How…how long?" he asked.
"You've been unconscious for almost three days," Abby said.
Brody nodded slowly, clearly in pain. "Have…have you slept?" he asked.
Abby wasn't sure if she wanted to laugh or cry at the question. "Shut up," she said, tears welling up in her eyes as she shook her head. "You don't get to tell me to sleep, okay? Not when you've been here in surgery and they were telling me you might not make it, and you did, you died…you actually died on in that operating room, your heart wasn't beating. Do you have any idea how scared I've been? And I haven't been able to talk to anyone, because Donnie would hover, and Steve's uncomfortable, Mom's confused…and Richie and Dad, they're furious at us. And I…I can't even explain how scary this has been, so don't you dare try to talk to me about sleeping."
Brody frowned and slowly lifted his hand to rest it on her cheek. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I…I'm sorry."
"I know," Abby said, clasping her hand over his before returning them to the bed. "And I know it's not like you got shot on purpose."
Brody smiled. "True," he said. "So…Richie knows?"
"Everyone knows," Abby said.
"Are you…are you okay?" Brody asked, knowing how hesitant she'd been about revealing their relationship to her family.
"Yeah," Abby said, noting the look of skepticism he had. "I am, I promise. It was time, anyway."
"Yeah," Abby said. "Remember how we were going out to the lake for the weekend?"
"My surprise," Abby agreed.
"No, I had…something planned," Brody said.
Abby hesitated for a moment. "I know," she admitted, earning a questioning look from him as she reached into her pocket and pulled out the ring box. "I went to your apartment this morning to get some things for you. I, uh, I found it in your bag."
"I…wrote a speech," Brody said. "Can't remember a word of it, but I…I wrote it. Thought it might convince you to say yes."
Abby shook her head. "I don't need convincing, John," she said, pressing the box into his hand. "Just ask."
Brody nodded, struggling slightly to open the box one-handed, as his other was still tied down with IVs and monitors on the other side of the bed. "This wasn't quite what I pictured, but what the hell," he said, his increased heart rate beeping on the monitor as he watched Abby's face. "Abby Kowalski, will you be my wife?"
Abby looked at him for a split second, the tears now rolling down her cheeks as she nodded. "Yes," she said, leaning forward and kissing him softly. "Yes."
"Yeah," Abby said, nodding as she laughed through her tears, looking down as he slipped the ring on her finger. "What did you think I was going to say?"
"Wasn't sure," Brody admitted.
"I know it's not going to be easy," Abby said. "But I don't care. I don't think I knew that until Donnie told you'd been shot, but it's the truth. I don't care what anyone else says or does, I don't care if Richie never speaks to me again, all I need is for you to be okay and for us to be together. And yeah, maybe I wouldn't have been so quick to say yes if you'd asked two months ago, but I've had a lot of time to think about this, and this is what I want, no matter what."
"Maybe getting shot wasn't…"
"Don't you dare even finish that sentence," Abby interrupted. "Let's make one thing clear, okay? I love you, but if you ever, ever put through that again, I swear to God, I will kill you. Got it?"
Brody nodded. "Got it," he agreed, squeezing her hand gently as he watched her face, knowing there was something else she was wanting to say. "Hey Abs?"
"I had the strangest dream," he said.
"I don't know, maybe it was whatever meds they were giving me," Brody hesitated for a moment. "You promise not to freak out or read too much into it?" he asked.
"It's kind of fuzzy, there wasn't really anything specific I could see," he said. "But I could hear you talking, and that part was so clear…you were talking about having a baby. I heard you say you were pregnant."
Abby smiled softly and leaned a little closer. "What if I told you that you weren't dreaming?" she asked.
"Really?" Brody asked, a hint of disbelief in his voice.
"Really," Abby said. "I'm only about eight weeks, I think…it's still early, but yeah…we're going to have a baby."
Brody took a breath, slipping his hand out of Abby's and moving it to rest it on her still-flat stomach. "Our baby," he said almost reverently.
Smiling, Abby put her hand over his and looked down. "Our baby," she repeated. "Our family."