Jeff Tracy has no idea what he's doing.

He is not a man who often finds himself at a loss; between distinguished service in both the Air Force and NASA, not to mention starting a multifaceted technological company that is even now growing by leaps and bounds, Jeff Tracy knows what to do in almost any given situation and is a quick, creative thinker.

He doesn't know what to do now. And he has no idea where he's supposed to find the strength to do it when his rock, his backbone, is lying in a hospital bed dying.

Jeff Tracy has seen men die, but he thinks there's something worse about a woman's death, nevermind it being Lucille. There's something especially terrible about this, Lucy's blood everywhere but where it's supposed to be, words like hemorrhage and bleeding out hissing around the room, his military brain supplying terms like crashing and gone down even as he ruthlessly, relentlessly suppresses them.

He won't let himself think of the baby; his world has compressed itself to Lucille and Lucille alone. Nevermind the boys, on their way here to say goodbye to their mother, bewildered and frightened. Nevermind his mother, struggling to hold herself together and look after her grandsons. Nevermind the grim staff and their quick movements. There's only wavy blonde hair, damp with sweat and limp against the pillow; a lovely face gone pinched and strained in a matter of hours; a frail hand gripping his own, and those eyes, those hazel eyes…

Lucy's eyes are terrible too. He's never seen them like this before and death's encroaching handle on his wife scares him more than anything else ever has; he can see her slipping away from him, inhabiting two worlds at once and giving all her strength to the little one she's sacrificing her life for. She pays no attention to the tent set up over her belly, her spread, raised legs, the doctors and the blood; even Jeff is only at the fringes of her mind as she sees the newborn lifted away.

"Is he all right?" she asks desperately; she doesn't mind giving her life for her children, but she has so much to live for that damned if she'll do it in vain. Her voice is cracked and rough, the question incessant; she manages to make it a demand and a plea at the same time. "Is he all right?"

One of the doctors spares her a strained smile. "He'll be fine, Mrs. Tracy."

The baby wails.

Lucy releases Jeff's hand and raises her arms as much as she's able. "Let me hold him… please, let me hold him!"

"In a moment, Mrs. Tracy, let us get you stabilized…"

Lucille knows she is dying. She can feel it. "Let me hold him!"

"Please," Jeff adds, and he sounds even worse than his wife.

The doctor nods curtly and motions the nurse; Lucy's gown is lowered, the baby laid on her chest. Her hands drift up, running lightly over reddened skin; she drinks him in.

"Alan Shepard Tracy." she whispers rapturously.

Jeff slides an arm around his wife and their son, and for a moment Lucy isn't dying, the hospital room has disappeared, and there's only them. For an all too brief instant, things are right and it's as it has been four times before.

But then alarms are going off and Lucy can't hold on any longer and the baby's taken away and Jeff shoved aside, helpless, as the medical staff swarm her. He finds himself in the waiting room without knowing how he got there, taking his sons in one at a time to say goodbye to their mother, cleaned up somewhat but they can all smell the blood and death, trying to explain to four little boys that Mom's not coming home this time. All too soon he sees her eyes crossing over, sees her drifting away from them, and the boys are taken from the room by his silently crying mother as Lucille finally releases her hold on life.

"Take care of my babies, Jeff."

"I love you."

He finds himself rooted to the hospital floor, staring at Lucille's body, and that's all it is now is a body, there's nothing there, those eyes are empty and glazed, and Jeff Tracy is at a complete and utter loss.