What You're Made Of.
I own nothing. I'm just playing with these awesome characters. Respect!
Fin Tutuola stirred troubled from his sleep, his arm reaching out to embrace his lover but instead finding a vacant space under the covers where she had earlier laid nestled against him. The cool night air pummelled his skin as he untangled himself from the sheets, turning over so that he could crawl out of bed and look for her; a feeling of foreboding overwhelming him when he recalled how subdued she had been just hours before. This feeling was further compounded when he glanced at the clock on his nightstand, noting that not only was it still pitch black, it was barely just four am. Sometimes Melinda got up in the early hours if a case had been particularly bad, and occupied herself around the house so as not to disturb him during a restless night. The day previously however she hadn't been at work, so whatever was worrying her had to be pretty big. He just hoped that she wasn't having second thoughts about their relationship because as scary as it was he could see marriage in their future and he didn't know what he would do if she didn't feel the same way.
Pulling on a hooded top, and bracing himself against the coolness of Melinda's house Fin quietly padded down the hall so as not to wake her sleeping daughter and carefully made his way down the stairs, cursing quietly when he caught his toe in the strap of Rochelle's schoolbag and almost tumbled down the final two steps. It was when he was untangling his foot that he finally saw her sitting in a hunched position on the sofa, her back to him as she watched a silent DVD playing on the television. He heard her groan quietly and his heart jumped into his throat.
"Mel..." He called out so as not to startle her, walking over to the sofa and sitting down at her side. "Baby, you okay?" He asked her softly, first looking down at the bucket that she was cradling in her arms and then at the pale features lit up so eerily in the lamplight. He placed an arm around her shoulder and gently pulled her to him.
"Just a little nauseous." She replied with a sigh, leaning in to his embrace. "I didn't want to wake you or Rochelle with the pretty spectacular dry heaving that I've been doing since three."
Fin placed a cool hand on her forehead, feeling for warmth.
"You don't have a temperature." He reassured her, giving her a small smile. "But maybe you should go to your Doc in the mornin'. This is the third time this week you've woken up not feelin' well baby. I'm startin' to get worried." He admitted, kissing the spot on which the back of his hand had just laid.
Melinda ran her fingertips over his cheek, wondering what she had done to deserve a man who cared so much about her and a daughter who wasn't even his own. She rested her forehead against his and looked into his chocolate brown eyes.
"I'll give it a couple more days and if I'm feeling no better I'll go. It's probably just some sort of stomach flu. I'll be..."
Melinda was stopped midsentence by her stomach heaving and this time promptly brought up its contents into the bucket that she had been clinging onto for dear life. Fin immediately pulled her hair away from her now flushed face, rubbing her back in comforting circular motions with his free hand and kissing the top of her head.
"Oh God." She whispered as she settled back into the cushions, her stomach quickly heaving again.
Fin felt helpless as Melinda was once again violently sick, tears of fear streaming from her beautiful chocolate eyes and rolling down the chocolate cheeks now glistening with perspiration. He watched as one hand rubbed her stomach gently while the other tightly gripped the bucket, her discomfort so apparent for him to see.
"Is your stomach hurtin' you? You need me to call 911 sweetheart?" He asked her, fear overwhelming him as she took a deep, shaky breath and settled back into his arms.
Melinda shook her head.
"It's just a little tender. Not painful." She reassured him, smiling as he gently pushed her pyjama top up away from her belly and caressed it with his calloused fingertips. "You have very soothing hands Detective." She whispered, closing her eyes and snuggling into him.
"I aim to please." He replied, worry evident in his voice as she began to shiver slightly in his arms.
As he moved his fingers across her skin and took in the weary and pale features which just last week had been so much more bright and vibrant, his thoughts turned to the weeks that had passed previously and how Melinda had started to complain of feeling a lot more tired than usual; often falling asleep in his arms as they sat watching television in the lounge with Rochelle before bed. She had found it uncomfortable at times to cuddle, her breasts more swollen and tender than they had been before, something that she had come to joke about particularly when moving around tight spaces at crime scenes. It was then that something clicked inside of him, making his breath catch in his throat and his heart begin to pound in his chest. If this was the reason why she had been feeling so poorly, their whole lives were about to change in a very unexpected way.
"You think you're goin' to be sick again Mel?" He asked the beautiful woman sat beside him, his hand now frozen upon the very gentle curve of her stomach and his voice shaking, Fin knowing that he needed to go upstairs and confirm whether his suspicions may be correct.
"It wouldn't surprise me. It feels like something's waging a war in here." She replied with a sigh, her eyes closed as she fought valiantly against the nausea coursing through her.
"Okay. You gonna be all right if I go get a blanket and pillows?" He asked her, already off the chair and halfway across the room before she even opened her eyes to look at him. "We may as well set up camp in here until the mornin' so we don't wake the kid." He explained.
"You should go back to bed. You need to get some sleep before work." She replied tiredly, and his heart filled with warmth as she expressed her concern for him regardless of how terrible she obviously felt.
"If you think I'm leaving you down here like this for another morning baby, that aint gonna happen. I'll be right back." He reassured her, running up the stairs and into the bedroom that they shared.
For a moment Fin gathered the duvet and pillows, piling them up on the bed so that he could carry them downstairs to his nauseous girlfriend, wanting to get her settled and back to sleep so that she could get the rest that she needed before deciding whether she felt well enough to go into work. He then entered the bathroom and looked into the medicine cabinet, his gaze falling upon two boxes of tampons that he could remember Melinda buying when they did one of their weekly shops two months previously, both boxes still sealed and untouched. He had looked at these every day and not realised that she hadn't been using them, and it seemed that Melinda hadn't realised that two months had passed since she had bought them either. It was only when he had earlier considered all of her symptoms together that realisation had come to him as clear as day.
Shakily he made his way back into the bedroom, perching himself on the side of the bed and placing his head in his hands. It felt as if his whole world had turned on its head and he didn't know which way was up and which was down. Over the last few months he, Melinda and Rochelle had become their very own family unit, one which worked, one which he enjoyed being part of, allowing him to be a step father and to prove to himself and to Melinda that he was good in that role. Now that unit was being threatened by the possibility of a child that early in their relationship they had ruled out ever having, for since Ken had been born and grown up Fin had been convinced that he would again be a bad father to any child that came along, and Melinda was terrified of their relationship not working and having to bring up a young child alone.
As he heard Melinda's stomach heavedagain in the lounge, Fin grabbed hold of the blanket and pillows and carefully made his way downstairs, his worry for the woman he loved overcoming any doubts or worries that he was feeling inside. As he reached her, he gently, so as not to jar her churning stomach, placed a pillow behind her soft curls; then sitting down next to her pulled the blanket over them both, his shaking hand immediately finding hers which lay on her stomach, giving it a squeeze.
"You look like you've seen a ghost." Melinda whispered, her voice gravelly from the nausea and sleep making her eyelids heavy.
"I've seen somethin'" He replied, running the fingertips of his free hand over her cheek, cupping it in her palm so that she was looking directly at him. "Baby...do you think there may be a possibility that this is morning sickness? Because the two month old unused boxes of tampons in the bathroom seem to suggest that you may be pregnant." He asked her, her face paling even more at his words.
For a moment Melinda sat silently, and Fin swore that he could see her mind working to process what he had just said.
"Pregnant?" She whispered, her body trembling next to his. "I just need to..." She started, gently easing herself out of the chair and gingerly padding over to her shoulder bag which lay on the floor by the stairs. With shaking fingers she reached into it, pulling out her diary and flicking through its pages, looking for the mark which signified when she had had her last period. When she found it she collapsed onto her knee's just staring at the page. "It's been two and a half months." She whispered, tearful eyes finding Fin's. "I've been so stupid! If this is our baby it's already been here for over two and a half months and I've just been carrying on as normal without any regard at work for its safety."
With new fatherhood seeming even more real than it had done just moments previously, Fin got up from the sofa and walked over to his frightened girlfriend, kneeling in front of her and taking her hands in his own. He wanted so much to comfort her. He hated seeing her like this, and it pained him to know that she had been trying to cope with the sickness alone for much of the week before he awoke.
"We weren't going to do this. This wasn't going to happen. Fin I'm so sorry." She told him sadly and he could see that she was as terrified of losing him as he was her. "I know that being a daddy again isn't something that you wanted."
"Baby listen to me, we need to do a test before anythin' else. There could be another reason for this...I don't know what but it's a possibility." He began, running over to the sofa when Melinda once again went incredibly pale, and placing the bucket down beside her just in time. "And you have no reason to apologise. It takes two people to make a kid. These things happen sometimes." He reassured her, taking her into his arms when she had finished and kissing her on top of her curls, hardly able to bear seeing her so worked up and worried, particularly when he knew that his baby may be inside of her.
"But we didn't want this. Did we...?" She asked him, and when her hand fell to her stomach and her fingertips dug into it protectively he knew that now it was possibly happening, for Melinda there was hardly any question about having his baby at all.
Fin looked at the floor; his thoughts turning to Ken and how absent he had been when his son was growing up. He found himself placing his hand once again over Melinda's, his too pressing against her stomach protectively regardless of his concerns.
"Thing's change. People change. I'm just not sure I'm daddy material Mel that's all." He explained. "It's not that I don't want it. It's that I'm scared I'll screw thing's up again if we have it." He admitted, feeling a tear roll down his cheek and cursing himself for his weakness.
Melinda reached out and brushed the tear away with her thumb, tilting his chin so that his eyes met hers.
"You are brilliant with Rochelle. I know that she's a little older, but I have no doubt that you would be just as fantastic with any child of ours as you are with her regardless of its age."
Fin shrugged, unsure as to the truth in her words.
"Look. I'm gonna go to the store and pick up a test." He told her a little more sharply than he intended, changing the subject and jumping up from the spot on which he was sitting.
"Babe, it's almost five in the morning."
"This is New York City Mel." He replied with a small smile which widened as he received one in response. "Besides, you really think you can wait?" He asked.
Melinda shook her head, resting it back against the wall with a sigh.
"Me neither." He responded honestly, grabbing his coat and pulling it on. "Will you be okay for a few?"
Melinda nodded and once again he leaned down and kissed her. He knew that he should have been more reassuring and he knew that he was leaving her sat there wondering if they were over should the test come up positive. He just needed some air; he needed to think about whether he could actually do this...whether he would be the father that he wanted to be to their child. Like he had told Melinda, It had never been about whether or not he wanted a baby with her, she was the only one that he could imagine starting a family with, and even back when they had decided against it the only reason that he had said no was because he had been convinced that he would be no good. He didn't want to disappoint her and he couldn't bear to repeat the same mistakes with a child that he had made with Ken. That was why this was so hard for him. That was why the whole thing was such a tremendous shock.
After tucking Melinda back under the blanket on the sofa and making sure that she would be alright, Fin quietly left the house so as not to wake the sleeping child upstairs. The cool night air hit him like a boxing glove and he pulled his coat tightly around himself so as to shield himself from the cold as much as he could. Before he even knew that he had reached the store he was stepping inside of it, so occupied were his thoughts of how he had found Melinda sitting there heaving just over an hour ago previously...how he had sat at her side with his fingertips caressing the gentle curve of her stomach which they now both believed was proof of the little life growing inside of her. A small smile crossed his lips as he recalled that minute bump and despite himself he found himself thinking of how magical it would be to see that bump grow further, to feel the baby growing inside of it move and kick against his palm...to see what a child he and Melinda had made together would look like and just what kind of personality he or she would grow to have. Having distanced himself from the shock of the situation and having given himself a little space to breathe he realised that he was already starting to think like a father to be and it didn't scare him half as much as it earlier had, for Melinda was the person whom he would be embarking on this journey with and when he thought about how much love she had already shown their child in the space of a few minutes all he wanted was for her to carry it safely inside of her to term.
"Can I help you Sir?" Came a feminine voice at his side, snapping him out of his baby filled reverie.
"Uh yeah. I need a pregnancy test." He told the shop assistant; a pleasant young woman who seemed uncharacteristically cheerful so early in the morning.
"Sure thing. This your first?" She asked, leading him to the correct aisle and smiling despite herself at the total look of confusion that filled his features as he stared at the multitude of boxes in front of him.
"It'll be my second...if it's positive." He added, his thoughts once again filled with Melinda and what it would be like to see her have her first scan...to hear their babies heartbeat...to see it somersaulting and hiccupping on the screen...to do all of the things that he wasn't man enough to do when his ex wife was pregnant with Ken. He realised for the first time that he may actually be disappointed if the test came out negative. "I have no idea which to get." He sighed, rubbing his eyes.
The shop assistant looked at him for a long moment and picked out a box.
"This one has two. When I had my first I had to take two before I even believed the result. It may give your girlfriend more peace of mind than just the one. These also estimate how far along she is."
Fin nodded, following the young woman to the counter and paying.
"Hey, thanks." He called back to her as he reached the door, giving her a small smile and then stepping back outside into the cold. He would probably be the one needing to see two before believing it. Again his heart began to pound.
Once again he began to walk, this time back to Melinda and back to what would possibly be the first day of the rest of his life, his heart filled with such love for her and an unexpected awe as he thought of the possible little life that had been trying so hard to make he and it's mother aware that it was there nestled inside of her. Just before he reached their door his gaze fell upon the Brownstone next to theirs where illuminated in the window he could see a young man cradling his newborn baby in his arms, his partner then joining him and wrapping her arms around he and their child as they swayed to a song that he couldn't hear, cradling them both in a loving embrace. He found himself longing for such moments with Melinda, Rochelle and the new baby, wondering what he had done to deserve a second chance at something so precious should the tests give them the results that they believed they would. What he would give to cradle their newborn against his chest and to soothe it to sleep. What he would give to know that he would have the child, Rochelle and Melinda at his side for the rest of his life.
Quietly he unlocked the door, stepping carefully back inside the house and making his way into the lounge. There dozing on the sofa was a very tired Melinda who seemed to have stopped being sick and instead had given in to a much deserved sleep. He made his way over to her, settling himself down at her side with the paper bag containing the pregnancy tests in his lap, his gaze falling onto a photo album that she was holding loosely in her hands. So as not to disturb her he carefully took it into his own, turning its pages to see photos of her in various stages of her pregnancy with Rochelle. He didn't think he had ever seen her looking as beautiful as she did with her rounded pregnant belly and her cheeks so aglow.
He placed the album down on the coffee table, brushing a stray curl away from her still damp face and kissing her softly on the cheek, his right hand falling to her stomach and his fingertips grazing the chocolate skin.
"You in there baby Tutuola?" He whispered softly, leaning back into the pillows and studying the woman he loved carefully as if able to guess the results of the tests just by taking note of her appearance alone.
"I don't know about you, but I'm sure as hell ready to find out." A tired voice told him.
Fin smiled as a shaky Melinda took his hand in her own and led him upstairs and into their bedroom.
"You done yet?" Fin called out ten minutes later, Melinda having boldly gone into the bathroom and not yet surfaced.
"I can't pee on purpose okay?" She shouted through the door and he smiled at her response. She truly was the most adorable woman that he had ever known regardless of whether or not she was currently trying to urinate on a plastic stick.
"Need me to come turn a faucet on? See if I can get thing's movin' down there?" He teased, finding himself so unable to sit still that he had taken to packing backwards and forwards along the expanse of their bedroom, his hands shaking and his heart thumping in his chest.
"Just give it a sec. I probably threw up most of the fluid I had in me." Melinda replied with a hint of exasperation in her voice, Fin walking over to the window and looking out into the still black night.
"You know it's quite difficult to generate enough pee for two pregnancy tests when you've spent a good couple of hours crying and bringing up the contents of your stomach." Came his lover's voice from the bathroom doorway, and in her trembling hands he could see the two plastic sticks.
"How long...?" He began to ask, sitting down on the bed that they shared as his legs turned to jelly.
"Two minutes." She answered quickly, laying them down on the duvet behind Fin and setting herself down next to him as he set the timer on his watch.
"I think this is possibly going to be the longest two minutes of my life." He told her honestly, pulling her into his embrace as he already had so many times that night and kissing the tip of her nose, thinking that holding her close was something that never got old.
"I'm thinking the exact same thing." She replied shakily, looking up at him and searching his eyes for a clue as to what his reaction was going to be should the tests be positive...should they show that a baby was inside of her which once upon a time they had decided that they didn't want.
"I saw the photos you were looking at from when you were pregnant with 'Chelle. You were...you looked so beautiful." He told her, breaking the unbearable silence that accompanied the time ticking by.
"It was one of the most magical experiences of my life. Uncomfortable, but magical." Melinda told him sincerely, remembering how when her baby girl had first kicked inside of her – really kicked – that she herself had cried like a baby because it was the first time it truly hit her that she had created a life.
"It suits you...bein' pregnant. Being a mom..." He whispered into her hair. "You would be an amazing mother to our child Mel and I want you to know that I can't think of anyone I would rather have carryin' a little Tutuola." He admitted, running his fingertips over the soft skin of her stomach.
"I can't imagine a better father for a baby Warner." Melinda responded; looking at him with such seriousness in his eyes that Fin felt his heart skip a beat. "Any baby would be lucky to have a father as brave, protective and doting as you are Detective." She told him, taking his hand in her own. "Don't ever doubt it."
Fin looked down at the bed sheets, his eyes tearful.
"And any baby would be lucky to have a mother as caring, compassionate and loving as you." He responded in kind, giving her hand a gentle squeeze. "You know when I was walking to the store all I could think of was you back here...the possible morning sickness...all those signs of pregnancy that we'd been too stupid to notice until now...and you know what I realised?" He asked her.
Melinda shook her head.
"I realised that I want this kid Mel. I want to be a daddy to our baby more than anything in his world. I may be scared that I'm gonna screw up and I don't doubt that I'm gonna make mistakes but if that tests negative..."
"I know. I'm gonna be disappointed to." She replied, resting her forehead against his, so glad that he too wanted this child should it be here. So happy that now they were faced with the possibility of a baby, he couldn't bear not to have it either.
"I just...I missed out on so much when Teresa was pregnant and missed out on so much of Ken's childhood. I couldn't bear to do that again and I'm so scared that I will. I'm actually terrified of it. With you by my side though...with our kid there in your belly...I know that I want to feel it kick and grow...I want to hear its heartbeat...I want to hear it say dada for the first time...I want to hold it in my arms and tell it how it, it's mother and its step sister are the most important people to me on this earth. If you want to do this Mel...if the tests positive...Just know that I'm gonna try my damndest to stop being afraid. I don't plan on goin' anywhere this time. Okay?"
"Okay." Melinda whispered, her lips finding Fins and placing upon them a gentle kiss.
"Because I love you. I love you so much." He told her, his voice so filled with emotion that she heard it crack.
"I love you too." She replied with hot tears burning behind her eyes, the pieces of her world falling back into place after all the worry earlier that night. "I want to do this Fin." She told him resolutely and he looked deep into her eyes. "I want to do this so badly now that I know it may be here."
"So do I." He reassured her, cupping her cheeks in his palms. "Even if it does mean getting up in the night to change diapers, to get drooled over and to have lots of cuddles."
"I can't imagine anything more beautiful you know." Melinda admitted, resting a head on his shoulder.
"Me neither." He replied. "I'm just sorry it took me a little while to admit that to myself. I'm sorry you were worried I might leave."
Melinda shrugged and just as Fin opened his mouth to respond the alarm on his watch beeped. The two minutes were up.
For a moment both just sat there absolutely petrified, what was going to be a life changing statement either way having now appeared on the plastic sticks just millimetres away from them. Melinda began to shake and Fin wrapped his arms around her tightly, rubbing his hands in circular motions on her back.
"If they're negative Fin...Oh God what if they're negative after all this..." Melinda whispered into his chest, her hand on her stomach and her eyes closed in fear.
"Only one way to find out baby." He commented, his voice portraying a braveness that he didn't feel as he turned around and scooped the tests into his hand, holding them in a closed fist in front of him.
"So? Are we going to be parents?" Melinda asked a minute later; her eyes still closed tight as if that one gesture could protect her from what she didn't want to hear and Fin still silent beside her.
"Oh Mel..." He whispered softly as he finally uncurled his shaky fingers, his gaze coming to rest upon the results. "We are. We really are. Marry me?" He asked her before he even realised the words had come out of his mouth, his heart thudding in his chest with joy about the baby and anticipation as to her response.
"Of course I will daddy." She replied softly, tears of happiness streaming down her cheeks as he gently took her into his arms, knowing that this truly was the first day of the rest of his life and he had never known anything so perfect.