"Be very careful not to touch your eyes, okay, Carter?" Cooper urges his patient, one more time - because he's eight, and it's pink eye, and you can never tell a kid that age too many times to keep his hands out of the gook. "That stuff spreads like nobody's business."

"Okay, Dr. Freedman."

As Carter trudges out of the exam room, Cooper hands a prescription to the boy's mom, and tells her, "Use the drops, keep him home from school until he's no longer contagious." He drops his voice to add, "And keep his hands away from his eyes," one more time.

She smirks, nods, and tells him she'll try, as she takes the prescription and Cooper leads them out toward the waiting area. He's barely given them a wave toward the elevator when he's being called over to the reception desk.

The receptionist hands him a note and says, "Dr. King called for you, from St. Ambrose. She says she's in room 213, and you should come by when you're done with your patients."

Cooper yanks the note from her fingers, reading it quickly as his pulse begins to race. "In room 213? As in admitted?"

"I… don't know," the receptionist tells him with a grimace. "She didn't say. She just said not to bother you if you were with a patient…"

"You should've bothered me," Cooper mutters, adding, "Get Sam to cover my last two appointments," before heading for the elevator. He punches the button once, twice, a third anxious time, but the elevator is all the way down on two, so he heads for the stairs. He hits the fourth floor before he remembers his car keys are in his office, and he has to go back up.

By the time he gets to the hospital he's so tied into knots that the best greeting he can manage when he stalks into her room is, "You had them wait to tell me until I was done with my patient?"

Charlotte sighs and rolls her eyes, adjusts the blanket over her lap. "It's not an emergency," she reasons.

"You're in a hopsital bed," he points out, scowling over the monitors next to her bed. He checks the fetal heart rate reading, and sighs with relief - the strip looks normal, as far as he can tell. Their daughter is blissfully undisturbed by whatever's sent her mother into hospital care.

"Yes," she confirms, sounding more irritated than he thinks she has any right to. "I am. But it's just for observation. I had a little bleeding; Addison wanted me off my feet for a while. If I don't bleed anymore tonight, I can go home, rest for a day, and I'll be right as rain in no time. Back at work and everything."

She's trying to be reassuring, smiling encouragingly at him and reaching for his hand. Cooper doesn't like that her main concern seems to be getting back in the saddle, but he's not sure why he should expect anything else from her. He takes her hand then tugs a nearby chair closer to the edge of her bed and sits. "You should take the rest of the week off," he says, unsurprised when she rolls her eyes and shakes her head, sighing.


"You should be resting," he interrupts, "Not worrying about when you can get back to work."

"I'm not-" She cuts herself off this time, sighs and pulls her fingers from his, looking at her belly and rubbing her hands over the swell, skirting the strap of the monitor and the bump of the transducer. That's more like it, he thinks. Her calm veneer is slipped a little, her anxiety showing through."I'm not worryin' about work. I'm tryin' to be positive." She looks at him then, gives him a wry smile. "Doctors orders."


Cooper lifts a hand to brush her bangs back from her forehead, and she surprises him by shutting her eyes, letting him stroke down her cheek, her neck, without protest. Instead, she just sighs and tilts her head to give him better access. She really is worried.

"I still think you should rest," he tries again, gently, hoping she'll be more receptive this time.

She opens her eyes and smiles in a way that lets him know she won't be, then gives him a small concession: "We'll see what Addison says."

He knows she's not going to budge any further than that, so he nods, and does another visual survey of her. She looks normal. Healthy. As normal and healthy as one can look in a hospital bed with a fetal monitor strapped to their belly, anyway. He tries to tell himself to take a breath and relax, that they knew this was a risk, but he can't help thinking of the contrast with the way she'd looked this morning, all vibrant and flirty, teasing him about how much of a shame it was they didn't have time for a morning quickie considering how good the sex had been last night.

And it had been good. Really, really -


They had really good sex, and now she's bleeding.

He feels a guilty heat creep across his skin, and lends a voice to his sudden concern: "We shouldn't have had sex."

This clearly isn't a revelation for her. She chuckles slightly, shifts on the bed, and agress, "Yeah."

He sighs, crosses his arms against the rail of her bed and plunks his head down on top of them. "We've had so little sex. We've had almost no sex!"

"Mmhmm," Charlotte agrees ruefully. "Might explain why it was so good last night."

Cooper smirks at her, but he can't help feeling responsible for this. The sex had been his idea. He reaches one hand over, settles it on her belly, and Charlotte lets her own fall on top of it, weaving their fingers.

"Which is good," she continues, "Because it's the last sex we're havin' in the foreseeable future. I'm on pelvic rest until further notice. And I'm supposed to stay off my feet at home."

He gives her fingers a little squeeze, and assures, "I will wait on you hand and foot. Anything you need. Remote, a book, water, midnight pizza, whatever. You sit, I'll get."

She murmurs her approval, then frowns and admits, "I'm no good at sittin' around, Coop. I need to be doin' somethin."

"You are doing something," he assures, putting gentle pressure on her belly. "You're taking care of our girl."

She nods, breathes a Right, and Cooper urges her to just focus on that. Focus on Harper.

A minute passes in silence, and then she scowls at him. "Don't you need to get back to work?" she asks, and Cooper shakes his head at her. Sometimes he thinks she doesn't really get him at all.

"I'm where I need to be," he tells her, watching as the corners of her mouth curve up pleasantly. "Someone else can handle work."

She settles her other hand over their joined ones, and says, "You know I love you, right?"

"God, I hope so," he teases, "Otherwise, what are we doing here?"

Charlotte laughs softly, then murmurs, "We're going to be just fine. We're going to stay positive, and we're going to be just fine."

She shuts her eyes as she's talking, and Cooper knows she's reassuring herself as much as him. They stay like that for a while, her taking deep, measured breaths, and him focusing on the ways he can adjust his workload to better accomodate taking care of her over the next few months, if it comes to that. He'll do whatever he has to to keep his girls safe and healthy - even if that means wrestling with Charlotte's stubborn side.