Author's Notes: Hi, I'm back and I survived my three week vacation. I took a note book with me and get this, I hand wrote the first 9+ chapters. At any rate here's the beginning of what looks to be a fairly long story.
Disclaimer: I was recently informed that if Sony or Revolution Studios or Mike Mignola or Dark Horse Comics or whoever else owns the rights to the comic/movie wants to come after me they can despite me saying, "I don't own anything created by someone else. Only the characters I've created belong to me," they can still sue me. However, I beg you not to since I still have two kids that I need to get through school.
Darkness. Pulling him in, he tries to fight, but it's too strong. He fights harder. Somewhere, off in the distance, a church bell tolls.
A gentle hand on his shoulder triggers an automatic response. He lashes out and the back of his hand makes contact with his assailant, cutting his hand. He looks around to find his attacker and sees Maggie without her mask thrashing in the water next to him. Without another thought, he grabs her and swiftly brings her to the surface of the tank. As he drags her towards the ladder that was put in shortly after she moved in, he notices she's not breathing.
He sends a panicked thought to Guillermo in hopes that the librarian is awake. He pulls her still form from the water and lays her out on the cold tiled floor, not sure what he can do for her now. He has only residual lungs that allow him to speak while on land, but they're not enough for mouth to mouth resuscitation. Before he can go into a blind panic, he hears someone running up the stairs.
He quickly unlocks the door and moves out of the way just as John comes bursting into the room a second later wearing only a pair of sweat pants. He stops his forward momentum barely in time to keep from trampling Maggie.
"She's not breathing," Abe explains hastily. "I can't give mouth to mouth."
Without saying a word, John drops down onto his knees next to the prone woman and starts to breathe for her. After a few breaths, John looks questioningly at Abe during one of her exhales. The merman's simply sitting beside them with his hand on her bare chest.
"Don't stop," Abe commands, trying to keep his panic under control. "Her heart is still beating, but not for long if you can't get her breathing again."
John says nothing, but gives a quick nod and goes back to his task. A couple more breaths and Maggie begins to convulse as coughs wrack her body and salt water starts to spew out of her mouth and nose. John and Abe quickly turn her onto her side so that none of the expelled fluid can accidentally be swallowed again.
After all of the water has been forced out, she lies there panting and trembling, curled around her large belly. A moment later, a blanket is placed over her. Abe finally looks up and sees the doorway crammed with people and Hellboy standing over them, obviously being to one who supplied the blanket. Before Abe can react, the large red demon bends over, scoops Maggie into his arms and heads for the door, causing people to scatter with one glare.
"I can carry her, Red," Abe offers as he stands.
"You might want to get dressed first, pal," Hellboy responds without looking back. "Unless, of course, you want everyone on know how blue you really are."
With that, Hellboy leaves with Maggie in his arms and John in his wake. Abe looks down and can suddenly feel the blood rushing to his skin. Without another thought, he swiftly gets into his dry land gear and then heads down to the medical bay.
Abe finds a bare chested and footed Hellboy leaning against a wall with his arms crossed over his broad chest across the hall from a door with medical personal streaming in and out. Abe starts to head for the door, but is stopped by a red hand and a shaking head. Abe takes up a position next to HB and they stand in companionable silence for several minutes. Abe thinks back over the time since he's been awake and something puzzles him.
"How many people did Guillermo tell about…?" he starts to ask, but is unable to finish as his throat closes up.
"None," Hellboy answers, not bothering to look at Abe, who's now tilting his head to the side in curiosity. "You broadcasted so loud I'm sure the pope knows that she stopped breathing."
"Why are you only wearing pants?" Abe questions, finally noticing his friend's attire.
"Be glad I'm wearing this much," HB growls, still not looking at his friend. "Next time Maggie decides to stop breathing, try having her do it some time other than the middle of the night."
Abe's skin turns a darker shade of blue as he closes both sets of eyelids and leans his head against the wall. Not long afterwards, the sound of uneven steps and a cane announces the arrival of Guillermo. The Earth Mage stops next to the demon and merman and watches as the flow of doctors and nurses starts to slow down, staying quiet for several minutes.
"What happened?" Guillermo demands without preamble.
Before Abe can answer, Dr. Hodson sticks her head out of the room and calls Abe in. He follows her and gets his first good look at Maggie since Hellboy carried her away and his heart and stomach drop to the vicinity of the sub basements.
She's propped up in bed with a hospital gown on, there are monitors attached to her belly monitoring the babies, an IV is in the back of one of her hands and she's wearing an oxygen mask. She can only look at him through one eye since the other one is swollen shut. Half of her face is badly bruised and he can clearly see where he slammed her respirator into her face. As he stands there staring guiltily at her, a nurse comes in and hands her an ice pack which she immediately places against her abused features after pulling the mask off.
"We've managed to get all of the fluid out of her lungs," the doctor starts, dragging Abe's attention away from his wife. "And we've got her on medication to stop the contractions. However, I want to keep her and the babies under observation for the next twenty-four hours or so."
Abe digests this information for the next several moments before he can reply.
"Isn't it a bit early for her to be going into false labor?" he asks. "She's only twenty-two weeks along."
"This wasn't false labor," Hodson answers. "The sudden stress caused her body to try and expel the one thing that it believes will keep her from surviving: The pregnancy."
This news staggers him and he can feel his legs starting to buckle out from underneath him. He quickly sits in the only seat available, the chair next to the bed. After he collapses next to her, Maggie doesn't pull away from him, but she doesn't reach for him either.
"Care to tell me what happened?" Hodson asks.
"We were sleeping in the tank," he starts, not sure how to word what happened.
"I touched his shoulder and I guess I must have startled him," Maggie finishes with a hoarse voice.
"So, what was your reaction to being startled?" Hodson inquires.
"I back handed her," he whispers, staring at the floor unable to look at either woman.
"I had a feeling it was something like that," the doctor states, barely containing her grumble. "From now on, Maggie, I no longer want you sleeping in Abe's tank and no more intercourse either. Also, I want you to start taking it easier. Let someone else take care of your animals."
"Ok, I can see the tank request, but why no more sex?" Maggie questions.
"Because an orgasm can stimulate your body into going into labor," the doctor replies. "Plus semen actually contains a chemical that ripens the cervix making it ready for delivery. If these babies are going to survive, we need them to get as close to term as possible. Do you have any more questions?"
They both shake their heads 'no.'
"Good," she responds. "Abe, you can visit for a little while longer, but the medication we gave her to stop the contractions will probably put her to sleep soon, so please keep it short."
"Yes, doctor," Abe mutters just as she disappears through the door.
He glances at Maggie and then quickly looks away. With a tired sigh, she finally lowers her ice pack from her face into her lap.
"Do I look that bad?" she asks quietly.
"No!" he replies emphatically just before lowering his head onto the bed next to her. "It's not that…It's just…It's my entire fault. God, I'm sorry, Maggie. I'm so sorry."
"And I forgive you," she softly tells him.
She begins to gently stroke his head; her hand's still cold from the ice pack. It doesn't take long before her hand slows and then finally stills. He releases the elastic bands holding the monitors to her tummy as he lays his head in her lap after moving the ice pack out of the way.
A few moments later, Hodson and a nurse rush in since the monitors for the babies heartbeats suddenly flat lined creating a bit of a panic. But the sight of Abe stroking the growing tummy of his sleeping wife brings a smile to their faces as they leave the couple in peace.
Several hours later, Abe staggers into the library headed for his tank and ready for a long nap. He notices that someone has raised the metal shutters that cover the glass wall of his tank and that the intercom has been turned back on. As he places his foot on the bottom step, a sound catches his attention and he turns towards it to find Guillermo staring at him with bags under his eyes.
"How are they?" Guillermo asks, quietly strumming his fingers on the arm of his chair.
"Maggie and the babies are doing fine now," Abe answers. "The doctor wants to observe them for twenty-four hours, so she won't be released until tomorrow."
"She's like a daughter to me, you know," Guillermo points out.
"I know," Abe replies as he stares at the floor. "I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt her."
"Know this, Abe," Guillermo warns, eyes narrowing. "Hurt her again and I'll beat you within an inch of your life."
With that, Guillermo swings his desk chair back around and returns to work. Abe knows that Guillermo doesn't anger easily, but when his ire is roused, he's a force of nature to be contended with. And Abe has no doubt that the man will make good the threat, crippled leg or no. Abe silently vows to take better care of Maggie, if not for the sake of her and the babies, to at least keep his own hide intact.