TEN-BLADE

Ross and Rachel sat side by side, holding hands in the waiting room. Both were decked out in their office clothes; looking messy and dishevelled. They stared straight ahead, stoic, tight-lipped, tense and lightheaded with anticipation. Ross glanced at the clock every few seconds. Time crawled by painfully slowly. Rachel's feet bloomed with blisters from her frantic running in stilettoes.

Ross ran through tomorrow's lecture on effective carbon-dating practices in his head, trying in vain to distract himself from the blinding terror bearing down on him. Should they call the others, Phoebe, Joey and Monica? They decided against it. It was all too complicated, what with Chandler being mutual friends with the three. Neither knew exactly how they felt about Chandler right now, but both knew for certain they had no desire to see him right now. At least not until they found out exactly what had happened in that house.

Ross and Rachel felt impotent. There was nothing they could do to help their daughter. Everything was up to fate, God, the surgeons operating on her fragile little body. They refused to cry. To do so was to pre-empt that their child was a lost cause. It was too early to cry. Crying was for parents of the dead. Their daughter was alive. She was alive and fighting. Dr Montgomery had said Emma had a fighting chance. The knife had missed her heart and lungs. Had it pierced her heart, she would've died instantly. Had it pierced her lungs, she would've drowned in her own blood.

Instead, it had pierced her liver. Well, actually, it had completely shredded it. Not to mention the extensive damage to her kidneys, stomach and small intestine. Their poor daughter, their poor sweet innocent beautiful baby girl was facing possible death, or an inevitably arduous road to recovery. If Emma was lucky enough to survive, how many surgeries would be needed to piece her back together again? Dr Montgomery walked into the waiting room. Ross and Rachel stood up quickly.

"Emma's alive. The surgery went as well as can be expected. We reconnected her severed small intestine, closed the perforation in her stomach wall and in her abdominal muscles. Unfortunately we had to remove one kidney, as it was beyond repair. But young children are resilient, so I don't doubt that she can survive and go on to lead a normal life with just one kidney." Dr Montgomery said.

"So Em's gonna be okay?" Rachel asked weakly, holding onto Ross for support.

"At this point in time, it is too soon to tell. What I'm concerned about is her liver. She's a small child, and that was a very large knife we pulled out of her. Her liver took the brunt of the force, and we were able to save very little of it. Her survival hinges heavily on how well she copes with what little liver she has left. Only time will tell. She's in the ICU now, if you want to see her. She's unconscious for now. We've kept her sedated, so her body has time to process today's trauma. We handed the knife to the police department. Do you have any questions?"

Ross and Rachel shook their heads slightly. "Alright then, I have another surgery to get to, but if you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to inform one of the nurses, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible." Dr Montgomery shook Ross and Rachel's hands, and walked away.

Ross stood rooted to the spot, feeling numb and hollow. This whole experience felt unreal. It was like he was watching his life from space, like this was somebody else's pain, not his. He felt removed, like a spectator in an arena, like a ghost. His mind could process none of this. Rachel collapsed into Ross's arms, weeping loudly, her head imploding in a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. Joy and relief that her daughter was alive; suffocating grief at her child's loss of a kidney and of most her liver; mind-boggling confusion as to how this happened under Chandler's watch.

Drying her eyes on Ross's shirt, Rachel pulled away from Ross, and the two walked hand in hand to the ICU. Ross gasped when he saw Emma, so small, so pale, so fragile, lying in a giant bed, with numerous tubes snaking up and down her body. Ross collapsed in a chair next to Emma's bed, and for the first time since he arrived at the hospital, waves of emotions began to hit him. He rested his forehead on Emma's little hand, his wounded-animal weeping carrying along the quiet corridors. Rachel rested her head on Ross's hunched shoulders, letting her tears rolls silently down her cheek.