This is another one of my oneshots inspired by the 15_minute_fic community prompts.
This time around it was Word #142 - miracle. I think the end is a little rushed (as always with my 15min fics, I've noticed) but apart from that I think it is ok. Let me know what you think after if you feel like leaving a review!
Fandom/original: Hey Arnold!
Characters: Arnold Shortman, Bob Pataki, Helga Pataki
Word count: 1251
It was a miracle.
That was the only possible way to describe it.
Arnold gazed lovingly through the glass at the row of wiggling bundles of joy. He stared at one in particular – a football-headed baby with wisps of blonde hair, and the largest blue eyes he'd ever seen. The child, only hours old, was blowing bubbles, clenching and unclenching her tiny fists.
Arnold longed to go in and pick her up, stroke her soft head and tickle her teeny-tiny toes. She was perfect. She was their miracle baby.
Arnold turned around at the gruff voice, to see his father-in-law. Big Bob Pataki. He found himself receiving a rare smile from the man. "Ol- I mean, Helga wants to see you." The man almost slipped back into his habit of calling his youngest daughter by his eldest girl's name. Luckily he'd made more of an effort to pay attention to Helga since she'd gone on to a successful writing career and won awards. Arnold nodded, knowing full well that Helga was in no state to be walking about to get him herself. Mere hours ago, she naturally gave birth to a football-headed baby. It really didn't bare thinking about how much pain she must have been in. He knew he was due a lot more verbal abuse than he received back in the delivery room. Arnold was about to walk away, when he heard Bob chuckle.
"She looks a lot like you." He mused. "That football head... but she has the Pataki blue eyes." Arnold nodded again.
"Yes, Sir." He still couldn't help addressing Bob Pataki as politely as he did when he first picked Helga up for their first date back in 5th grade. "She had my head, my nose, my ears... but Helga's eyes. By the looks of it, she has Helga's fists too. " He grinned. "Old Betsy and The Five Avengers, mark two." He watched her swing them in the air uncontrollably. Bob chuckled again.
"You know, Boy..." Bob turned and offered his hand, "You did good. I'm proud to call you my son-in-law." Arnold shook the man's hand, cringing at the firm grip on his already injured hand. "You better take good care of my girls."
"Yes, Sir, Mr Pataki. Though I must say they are my girls now." He smirked, "I must be going. I can't keep Helga waiting – it will only prolong whatever punishment she has for me!"
He rushed off, leaving his father-in-law laughing at him.
He made it to Helga's hospital room.
"Get in here, Football-Head!" she called, as soon as she saw him hover in the doorway. "I have something to say to you!"
She was propped up in the fluffy white bed, her face slightly pale, her hair still damp around her face. He made his way over, nervously playing with the hem of his plaid shirt. He drew closer to the bed.
She grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, her grip surprisingly strong for a woman who had just survived a 20 hour labour. She pulled him up close and kissed him, with all the depth and passion he had become used to after being married to her for five years. He melted into her lips, letting her have her way with him, and relaxed. They broke apart for air. Then she punched him on the arm.
"Serves you right for having such a weird shaped head! I knew I should have had a caesarean! That was without a doubt the most painful thing I have ever felt in my life!"
Arnold, smiled, apologetically.
"Does this mean we won't be trying for baby number two?" He asked, mock hurt in his voice.
"Not for a long time, Arnoldo. It's gonna be a while before I let you anywhere near enough to me to make another baby. Have you see the amount of stitches they had to use?" Arnold cringed. "I am on painkillers just to lie here..." She stopped, as she saw the genuine guilt in her husband's eyes. Arnold felt terrible.
"So, how is our miracle baby doing?" She asked, grabbing his hand and squeezing it reassuringly. He squeezed back, ignoring the fact that doing so reminded him of the bruises Helga had given his hands earlier.
"She's doing great – sitting their calmly in her crib, blowing bubbles and showing off her fists to the other kids. Seems like she might be warning them of things to come! Like mother, like daughter, eh?"
"Are you really in a lot of pain, Helga?" Arnold sat down in the chair beside the bed, still holding her hand. "Can I get you anything?"
She smiled, sadly.
"It hurts. But not as much as not seeing her. I miss her already. I mean, she was inside me for nearly nine months and now I am empty." She looked up and blinked her forming tears away. "C-can you have them bring her back to me – just for a little while? I didn't get to hold her for long before they whisked her away and started sewing me up."
Arnold nodded, fighting back the lump in his throat. He told her he would be back as soon as possible. He let the nurse know, and she brought the baby out, wrapped in blankets and handed her over to him. His eyes welled up again as he held her up close. It was dream like seeing the little miracle he had created with his childhood sweetheart. After three years of trying, they finally had their baby.
Helga's eyes lit up and sparkled with tears as he brought the baby into her room.
"Here's your Mommy..." He whispered as he kissed the blonde wisps of hair on his daughter's head, and handed her over to Helga's eager arms.
Helga cradled her baby, one of her long fingers tracing the child's nose, her soft, pink cheeks, her wet lips. She stroked the gossamer hair on the football-shaped head. Then she began cooing, baby talk. She leaned in and kissed the spot he had just kissed. Arnold's heart swelled with pride and emotion at the sight of his wife and child. It was all he could do to fight back his tears.
"What shall we call her?" He asked his wife.
"I was thinking we could name her after your mother." Arnold's eyes widened. She met his gaze with her shining blue eyes. "After all, she had to go through this exact same thing giving birth to you – but she had no painkillers or doctors to help. I have a lot of respect for a woman who can pass a football-head like yours, virtually unaided in the middle of a jungle. I want our girl to inherit that kind of strength."
Arnold couldn't hold back anymore. The tears slid down his face.
Helga laughed, her tears trailing down her smiling face.
"Crimeny, Football-Head, would you stop the waterworks? It's not that big a deal, right?"
Arnold shook his head and leaned in closer, pulling his wife and child into a hug.
"No Helga, it means the world to me. You mean the world to me. My beautiful girls. My family..."
Helga and Stella. My miracles...