Augusta Emily LaSalle was born just about five weeks early, a fact that sent her daddy into a complete tizzy.
Her mama, Merri Brody the interrogation master, resident Yankee, and reigning champ of team Pictionary, was committed to working right up until labor, or whenever Chris LaSalle and Dwayne Pride kicked her out of the office.
(To be quite honest, she really thought that Chris and King we're going to kick her out long before she went into labor. Shows her for thinking that way.)
And there she found herself, at almost 35 weeks pregnant, in the office working through her boys' paperwork with a sudden puddle of amniotic fluid around her feet.
"Oh no oh no," she murmured to herself.
And that's where the story gets murky.
Merri Brody will tell you the story goes like this:
When she saw the fluid soaking her shoes (sneakers because heels were banished from her wardrobe, as per Christopher LaSalle), Merri groaned and her heart sunk to her stomach.
Baby LaSalle was too early and Merry had to stay calm.
So, she reached quickly for her phone to call Chris. And when it went to voicemail she left a short voicemail before trying Dwayne, Percy, Patton, Loretta, and Sebastian, in that order.
And when none of them answered, an emergency call to 911 was made.
Merri Brody will tell you she was calm, cool, and collected throughout the whole thing.
As Merri Brody tells it, that's how she got to the hospital.
Chris LaSalle will tell a different story. (This one is closer to the truth.)
He will tell you that a frantic, very close to hysterical voicemail greeted him when he checked his phone after their successful raid.
"Oh shit," he then cursed, waving Pride and Percy down, "It's Merri. She's in labor. We need ta get goin'."
LaSalle spent the drive back to their office frantically dialing Merri. Each and every time she didn't pick up he growled a little louder.
"You welcoming a tiger cub, LaSalle?" Percy had grinned, teasing the older agent, but falling silent when both Pride and LaSalle glared at her.
"Sorry, sorry," she held her hands up in surrender.
LaSalle will tell you he pretty much rolled out of the car while it was still moving to get Merri from the office.
(Pride will tell you the car was at a stop when he jumped out and bolted like a scared animal.)
And when Chris couldn't find sight of Merri (other than the wet spot on the floor by her desk) he panicked and shouted back to Pride, "She prob'ly at the hospital. Mebbe we can beat her there?"
"We'll sure as hell try, Christopher," Pride said, worry for his other agent clearly and plainly written on his face.
Chris LaSalle will tell you he was worried as all hell and that when he saw Merri Brody in her hospital bed, worried crease between her eyebrows, he was not ashamed that a few tears leaked out.
After that, things are a bit of a blur.
Time speeds up and it slows down.
Merri had been rushed immediately to an OR, with doctors explaining that they couldn't risk the complications a natural birth might cause
Just under half an hour later, Merri is delivered of a tiny baby girl.
Tiny, but the doctors assure them, very healthy for a 34-week gestation.
Chris thinks briefly that the baby is beautiful and then she is rushed to the NICU to be put in an incubator, just in case.
Merri is stitched up and returned to her room where Pride and Percy, and Loretta and Sebastian are waiting.
LaSalle kind of, sort of heads them off so Merri can rest. In a tone holding a mixture of pure joy at his daughter's arrival and heart-clenching fear for her health, he tells his (their) strange little family about Augusta Emily's arrival.
He answers their questions happily, but also quickly since he doesn't want to leave Merri alone.
Named for her daddy's grandmama and her mama's sister.
Four an' a half pounds.
Sixteen inches long, little bit scrawny.
Dark hair and jus' as damn beautiful as her mama.
"And how is Merri?" Loretta asks, worried.
This is when Chris realizes he's left his wife alone for far too long. He promises to update them soon, even as he's got his back to them, heading into Merri's room.
Merri looks good for a lady who's just had an emergency C-section at 34 weeks. Tired and pale and still a little scared, but Chris thinks she's gorgeous and he'd more than anything like to kiss her right now.
But her hair is sweaty and pasted to her face and she's nibbling at her pinkie nail. Chris can see on her face that she blames herself.
(Merri is a slightly older first time mama. Preterm labor was a risk.)
(Merri is also nothing short of a perfectionist. She didn't think preterm labor would be a problem for her
Merri will tell you that she knew Chris needed to comfort someone so she let him sit next to her on the bed and stroke her hair and tell her he's so proud of her and their baby girl is a beauty.
Chris will tell you that Merri needed comfortin' and he knew that 'cause when he did sit next to her and stroke her hair she said nothin' in the way of protests.
They're both very, very right.
Merri is only in the hospital for a few days, the baby will be there a week or so, just to make sure.
Pride refuses to let the new parents into the office, instead insisting that they spend time with "that precious baby girl" and fixing up the nursery that they still thought they had a month to finish.
Chris and Merri spend a lot of time in the NICU, just talking and talking to the baby. They tell her how they met, about her namesakes, about her New Orleans family. Hell, they talk about the damn weather.
(Merri has never been so grateful that Chris could talk to a wall.)
(Chris has never been so grateful that Merri is a meticulous researcher. She has them both relieved about the baby's health, it's as if she were born right on time.)
Chris is allowed to hold baby Augusta for the first time at the end of her third day in the NICU. Tears come to his eyes because she is just so small. She's cradled in his hands, barely the length of his forearm.
"I love you, Christopher LaSalle," Merri murmurs, watching the two loves of her life get to know each other.
Without taking his eyes off of his daughter ("She's so damn small, Merri! What if she slips righ' through m'fingers?"), Chris gives a broad grin and says, "An' I love you, lovely Agent Brody."
A/N: So this is something new that I'm trying. LaSalle and Brody have me super entertained on Nola. This came to me the other day and I decided to write it, what I didn't expect was the fact that I would end my writing session with 3,000 words for different "snapshots" of Brody and LaSalle's life together with their kids.
Let me know if I should keep posting them and writing more. I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially since Brody/LaSalle isn't super popular in the Nola fandom! :)