Most of the characters and situations in this story belong to Alliance Atlantis, CBS, Anthony Zuicker and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them. All others are mine, and if you want to play with them, you have to ask me first. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.

Spoilers: none; this is a futurefic.


You never notice the important moments until they're over.

I can't remember much; it's all fuzzy, and I'm so tired. I do remember the shouting, and the fear. It was so sudden--

The breathtaking pain in my abdomen. The stark look on his face as I staggered. Both of us realizing that all our time had run down to this absolute point. And both of us realizing that there was no time left to say anything more.

I couldn't stand; it was all happening so fast. There was an ambulance there already, and I remember being lifted into it, his hand slipping from my grip.

Flashes of the journey--noise and bounces and more pain, and voices over my head, and something over my mouth and nose. I tried to swipe it away, until somebody told me it was oxygen.

He was back again, my anchor in the midst of it. People were talking all around us, but his hand was wrapped around mine, and I clung to the ache of its tightness as a ward against the greater pain. I could see his face, white with fear, but his eyes focused on me. They were so full, and I wished I had time to read all the emotions there--

It was such a struggle. They kept telling me to concentrate, to stay with them, and I fought the pain for what felt like forever. But no matter how I fought, it never seemed to lessen. It was winning, and I couldn't see any more, but I could hear him shouting, telling me not to give up, swearing at me with tears in his voice.

I wanted to listen, I wanted to so much. For him, if for no other reason. But the pain was so huge.

Now it's all over. I don't have any more to give--no more energy, no more effort. It's all run out of me. There's nothing left.

I can barely move, but I manage to turn my head. There he is, sitting close, eyes shut in absolute weariness. He hasn't left my side.

I knew he wouldn't.

It's quiet; they've left us alone. I summon a breath. "Gil?"

He stirs, opens his eyes. They're red-rimmed, but I can see the love in them. "Hey," he whispers. Careful not to disturb.

"I want to sit up," I tell him, and he frowns.

"Sweetheart, no. You're--" But I manage to glare at him, and he sighs, and reaches out to press the button. Slowly, the bed tilts, until I'm only half-reclining.

"Come here," I tell him, and with infinite care, he slides onto the wide mattress, his hip pressing against mine. I can smell him, that wonderful mix of shampoo and cotton and him, and I pull in another slow breath, ignoring the warning pulse of pain.

One arm slides behind me, and I rest my head on his shoulder. I feel like I could stay like this forever; there's only one thing wrong.

Then he lays the little bundle in my lap. The tiny face, still creased, is beautiful; the fine lashes lie on her cheeks as she sleeps the sleep of the new.

Now it's perfect.

"You should try to rest," he murmurs into my hair. I feel a smile tugging at my mouth; I don't want to waste this time that will never come again. I lift my heavy hand, touch one finger to the rosebud fist showing over the blanket's edge, and her miniscule fingers flex and grip my fingertip. So small a thing, and so delightful.

"There'll be time for that later," I tell him. I know I'll recover faster if I do. But not yet. Not yet.

Right now, this is all I need.