Stein helped Marie into a sitting position, making sure that her legs were spread and open for the birth.
"Now, you're sure that you want to do this here, Marie? You're sure that you don't want to go to the hospital?" Stein asked one final time.
"For the love of Death, yes!" Marie said through gritted teeth. "I'm getting tired of explaining it; I'm married to a doctor!"
Stein chuckled, and then prepared the epidural. "I'm going to numb the entrance site, Marie. It may hurt a little."
"It can't hurt any worse than this is right now!"
Stein couldn't lie; at this point the more sadistic side of him was enjoying this. She had asked for this in a way. He chuckled as he cleaned the site and then anesthetized it. He carefully started the epidural and her gasp in relief as the medication started to kick in.
"Better?" He asked.
"Yes." He could see the sweat on her forehead as she grabbed her stomach. "Another one!" She exclaimed as another contraction hit her.
Stein knelt down in front of her, and looked up. "You're coming along quickly, Marie; you're already well dilated, about five centimeters. I need you to relax and take deep breaths. Don't push yet."
Marie arched her back as another contraction hit. "Thank Death that you know what you're doing. I've heard some horror stories from Azusa about how… nghn… painful contractions can be." She said, panting.
Stein stood and walked over to take her hand in his. "I promised you that I would take care of you, Marie."
"How long?" She panted.
"Not long, Marie. You're dilating much quicker than I had anticipated."
An hour later Stein announced that she needed to start pushing. "I need you to push Marie; when you feel the contraction, push." Marie just nodded, sweat covering her face.
It felt like an eternity before Marie felt an immense weight drop out of her and she pushed one last time to get rid of the afterbirth. She collapsed back onto the table, looking up at the stitched ceiling and sighed in relief before she realized that she didn't hear anything.
"Franken?!" She cried out in alarm even as he moved around to place the bundle in her arms. Looking down she was shocked to see their daughter, her gold eyes open and staring at her and Stein. "She's not crying…" She said wonderingly.
"Some children don't when they're born, Marie." Stein leaned down over her shoulder and held out a finger to their daughter. 'We finally have a daughter.' He thought. He watched as the child… Elsa… actually followed his finger with her eyes before reaching out towards it. Marie smiled, content.
"You should feed her, Marie. It's good for both of you." Stein said.
"You just want to watch!" She said laughing.
"I can leave." He said, deadpan.
Marie just shook her head and proceeded to feed their daughter, and Stein smirked. He did want to watch.
The first two weeks of her life, Elsa Marie Stein was quiet, just making the little cooing sound that happy babies are so well known for. She threw her first temper tantrum when she was thirteen days old, much to the amusement of her parents.
Marie had come into the lab with her and Stein had taken her to hold for a moment as he worked at his computer. When he went to hand her back to Marie, Elsa started screaming as if she were being burned. Nothing Marie could do would calm her. Wonder in her eyes, Marie handed Elsa back to Stein and watched as she immediately quit crying.
"Looks like you get to watch her for a while!" Marie said with a laugh as she left the lab.
"Well, Elsa, look what you have done!" Stein chuckled, looking down at the infant in his arms. "I hope for your mother's sake that you're not going to be a daddy's girl.
If only he had known how true that statement was, he may never have said yet.
Elsa advanced quickly, walking and talking earlier than any other child in her age group. She was reading at eighteen months, and reading at a third grade level by the time she was three. She was a very bright, very inquisitive girl, but above all else, she was her father's daughter.
She spent as much time as she could with him, and when they sent her to kindergarten at the age of four she threw a fit.
"I don't want to!" Elsa cried out, her silver pigtails flying around her face as she shook her head. "They're all strangers!"
"Honey, you have to meet new people." Marie comforted her.
"I don't want to be away from you and daddy!" Tears fell down her cheeks and landed on her blue dress.
"Your mother is right, Elsa. You need to go so that you can make friends." Stein said, picking his daughter up and carried her out the door and to the waiting car. "I'll let you help me tonight if you behave while at school."
Elsa stopped crying immediately. "You promise, daddy?" She asked seriously.
"I promise, Elsa."
"Then I'll behave." She said matter-of-factly.
"That's my good girl." Stein smiled and ruffled her hair.
Once they arrived at the school, Elsa exited the car and walked with her mother and father to the classroom. She tugged on her father's lab coat, and he bent down to her. "Daddy, they're all so big." She whispered in his ear.
Elsa was right, the other students in the class were all about a year older than her, and were larger than his small daughter. Bending down he picked her up and put her on his shoulders. "Now you're the tall one, Elsa. Just remember the way this looks and you'll always be bigger than they are." Marie laughed from beside him.
"Now, Elsa, you're going to stay here while daddy and I go to work. Can you do that for us?" Marie asked smiling.
"If daddy wants me to." Elsa said quietly. "Because if I'm good I'll get help him tonight." Marie just shook her head and laughed, giving Elsa a hug.
"I do want you to, Elsa." Stein said, hugging her quickly. "And try to make a friend or two, ok?"
Marie and Stein arrived to pick Elsa up from her first day of school four hours later. Elsa was not happy.
"What's wrong, Elsa?" Marie asked quietly.
"They're all stupid. I don't want be their friend." She said, spitefully.
"Elsa, that's not nice!" Marie said sternly.
"Daddy knows it's true."
"Elsa, that's not a nice thing to say about people." Stein repeated Marie's words as they drove down the road to the laboratory.
"Hmph." Elsa looked out the window, kicking her feet against the seat. "I don't want go back."
"You're forgetting your prepositions again, Elsa." Marie said.
"Prep-po-si-tion." Elsa sounded out the word.
"I don't want to go back." Stein answered.
"To." Elsa repeated.
"But you will."
"No!" Elsa wailed. "They're all stupid. They can't even read! They think 1+1=cookie!" She was crying full out.
"Then you'll have to teach them better than that, won't you, Elsa?" Marie asked, smiling.
"I have to?" She said quietly. "That's teacher's job."
"Do I have to? and: That's the teacher's job." Stein said.
Elsa repeated the sentences, and then something obviously clicked. "I was good today, Daddy! I didn't tell them they were stupid. Can I help you?"
"That's up to your mother, Elsa."
"Mother may I?" Elsa said sweetly, and smiled at her mother.
Marie couldn't say no. When they got home, Elsa followed her father into the lab while Marie started dinner.
"Daddy, how did you get the scar on your face?" Elsa asked for the hundredth time.
"I'll tell you when you're older, Elsa."
"What about the screw in your head. Can I have one?"
"Your mother would kill us both if I did, Elsa." Stein said, laughing. 'And that's the complete truth.' He thought to himself.
"What are you doing today, daddy?"
"We're going to grade tests, Elsa."
"Grading test is boring. Why not take something apart like last time?"
"You weren't supposed to see that and you know it, Elsa." Stein shook his head trying to forget how Elsa's face had looked when she had snuck into the lab and saw him dissecting a small cat to re-familiarize himself with it before having his DWMA students dissect a similar one in class the next day.
"I want to again though." She said thoughtfully. "It's insides were… pretty." She finished with a smile, her head tilted to the side.
"Do not let your mother hear you saying that!" Stein laughed. 'I'm going to have to tell Marie, though. If Elsa starts to turn out more like me we're going to have a problem… We're going to have to watch her carefully.'
"Are you sure you want to help since its boring, Elsa?" He asked, sitting her on his knee.
"Yep! I make the smiley face!"
"I will make." He corrected her, smiling.
"I will make." She repeated.
They sat grading papers the whole night, Elsa making the smiley faces on the ones that he gave her; she never knew that she was putting smiley faces on the poor grades.
And he never knew that she had finally seen where he hid the scalpels.
Elsa snuck into Stein's lab after she heard her parents' door shut for the night. It took a bit of effort to climb up and get the lab door open, but she eventually managed it. It was even more effort to get the rolly chair her dad sat in moved underneath the cabinet where she had seen the glint of metal, but she did, and finally climbed up to look at her prize through the glass door.
'They're so shiny and pretty!' Elsa thought, 'I'll get to see the pretty insides again with them!' She fairly giggled as she reached out and her hand hit glass.
The glass perplexed her. She didn't understand how there was an invisible wall in front of what she wanted. It took her a long while, but she finally remembered seeing her daddy get past the wall by pulling the knob that was on the side. Three minutes later she had managed to figure the knob out, and was holding a single, shiny scalpel.
Elsa hopped down, and started looking for the cat her daddy had had a long time ago, but she couldn't find it. Sitting down she almost gave up when inspiration hit.
Stein and Marie both woke up to the scream. It continued and continued, a child's scream of pain and fear. The two of them were running towards it, looking at each other when they realized it was coming from the lab.
They came through the open door and Stein immediately noted the open cabinet.
Marie's scream added to Elsa's when they found her, hunkered in the corner, a large but shallow gash extending from her collarbone to her navel. Elsa had her arms crossed in front of it and was screaming, tears flowing down her cheeks, blood pooling around her.
"Don't be mad, Daddy!" Elsa wailed, tears streaming down her face.
"Stein, do something!" Marie was panicking
Stein reacted, bending over and picking his daughter up and laying her on one of the operating tables. "Marie, get me a mask for her. I'm going to have to knock her out. I can't stitch the wound with her awake."
"I don't want sleep!" Elsa screamed out.
"You have to, sweetie." Marie said, her voice obviously holding back tears desperately.
"No no no no no!" Elsa screamed.
Stein placed the mask over her face as she screamed out, and Marie gently smoothed her hair. Elsa was unconscious shortly thereafter, and Stein was cleaning and sterilizing everything as quickly as he could.
"Explain." Marie said as he started stitching the wound on Elsa's chest up.
"She cut herself, Marie." He said, focusing on the stitching.
"What would have made her think to do that?" Stein could feel the anger radiating from her.
"Marie, she is my daughter too." He said quietly. "Nothing made me do it the first time except pure curiosity."
Marie looked down at the silver haired girl on the table between them. "She's going to be ok?" She whispered.
"I promise, Marie." Marie couldn't keep the tears from falling, and turned her back as her husband stitched their only daughter's chest back together.
Elsa fingered the healing stitches and looked at them in the mirror in her room. 'All that, and I still didn't see the pretty insides.' She thought to herself sadly.
There was a knock on the door and then her father walked in.
"Elsa, I need to have a discussion with you. It's about what you did."
"Daddy, don't be mad…" She trailed off, already whimpering.
"Elsa, I am." He said bluntly. "What you did was wrong. You went some place you knew you weren't supposed to. You took something that didn't belong to you, and then you did something incredibly dangerous."
Stein knelt down in front of his daughter and put his hand on her shoulders. "Listen to me, Elsa. You can never do that again."
Elsa lowered her face and muttered something that Stein couldn't hear. "What was that?" He asked quietly.
"I just wanted to see the pretty insides." She looked up at him and he could see it, flashing in the depths of her eyes, twinging her small soul. Madness. She grinned, tilting her head to the side just like Marie. "I'm sorry, Daddy. I'll be good and won't do it again."
"Thank you, Elsa." He gave her a hug before leaving the room.
'She certainly is my daughter.' He thought as he left. 'I can't let Marie find out why she did what she did. I have to keep her out of the lab, as well. It would devastate Marie if anything were to happen to Elsa… and myself as well."
Elsa sat down on the edge of the bed, her four year old mind thinking about how to get around the promise. 'You can't break a promise.' She thought solemnly. 'But what if it wasn't his toys I used? Then he couldn't get mad because I wasn't taking something that wasn't mine or going where I wasn't supposed to!' She giggled and couldn't stop, falling onto her back on the bed and rolling around.
Stein heard her as she burst into laughter. The sound chilled his very soul.
Elsa returned to school two weeks later, wearing a happy smile and resolved to do her best to be good for daddy, and mother too, she guessed.
"Welcome back, Elsa!" Her teacher greeted her when her parents dropped her off that morning. "Ready to learn something today?"
"Are you ready?" Elsa muttered under her breath, so used to having her own sentences corrected that the fragment the teacher used bothered her.
"What did you say, Elsa?" Her teacher smiled down at her.
"I'm happy to be back." Elsa smiled happily.
Elsa spent the entire day trying to ignore the children around her, even more disgusted now than she was her first day, and she kept fingering the stitches on her chest. The only time she actually interacted with them was at recess.
"Hey, Elsa!" A voice called over the noise of the other children.
Elsa looked up to see a brown haired boy walking over to her. He was a good four inches taller than her and maybe 20 pounds heavier.
"Can I help you with something?" She remembered hearing her father say that once.
"You think you're too smart to do things like the rest of us do, don't you?" He asked, right in her face. "You think you're so smart that you don't even have to come to school for two weeks, don't you?"
"I got hurt, I couldn't come." She said, backing up. He got right up in her face again.
"Yeah, if you got hurt that bad you'd be dead. I don't believe you."
"I don't care." Her voice held the hint of anger.
"Yeah, well, smarty pants don't think you're too good to talk to us anymore." He shoved her backwards, hitting her square in the chest.
Elsa cried out in pain, the stitches protesting the sudden movement.
"You're just a little weakling." He shoved her again as she stood up. "You think that just because your dad's a meister and your mom's a death scythe you're better than all of us, don't you?"
Elsa stood up. "I don't think I am, I know I am." She said simply. Blood was showing through the white shirt she was wearing, and a small crowd had gathered around them.
The boy swung, his fist connecting with her jaw, knocking her flat on her back. A dark haired boy with glasses darted out of the crowd to help Elsa to her feet. "Come on Matt, leave her alone." He said quietly.
"I don't need your help, James." Elsa said, pulling her arm out of the dark haired boy's grasp. Turning to face Matt she looked him up and down. "If you touch me again, I'll tell my daddy, and he'll come cut you into little parts and sew you back together wrong." The four year old's tone dripped with malice, sounding much older than she was.
Unfortunately, the teacher arrived at that time. Both Elsa and Matt were sent to the principal's office, their teacher sitting in between them.
"Mr. and Mrs. Stein, I need to talk to you about what happened on the playground this afternoon." The principal started. "It seems that one of our other students, Matthew Bishop, was bullying your daughter. It seems that he shoved her twice and then punched her. She made no move to fight back, a fact that I applaud. However, she did threaten the boy."
"How so?" Marie asked.
"She threatened that if he touched her again she would tell her father, and then that you, Mr. Stein, would cut the child into small pieces and sew him back together wrong."
Marie's face contorted in horror and she looked down at their daughter. "Elsa, did you really say that?"
Elsa fidgeted, rubbing her feet together.
"Answer your mother." Stein said quietly.
"I said little parts…" Elsa's voice was small.
"Elsa! You owe that boy an apology!" Marie exclaimed.
"It's more than that, Mrs. Stein." The school principal looked quite sad. "That's considered a death threat. Matthew's parents are quite upset about it and I'm afraid that at this point, my only recourse is to expel your daughter. If I don't, there's a very good possibility that the entire school district will come under fire, and perhaps have a lawsuit filed against us. His parents have only agreed not to if your child is removed from the school. I am sorry; Elsa seems like a bright young girl."
Elsa smiled. "I don't have to come back then?"
"That's not something to be proud of Elsa." Stein said, disapproval in his voice. Elsa's face fell.
"I'm sorry, daddy…"
"Don't apologize to me, apologize right now to the principal for interrupting his day because you can't think about what you're saying. Then you'll be writing an apology to that boy and his parents." Stein looked up. "There is one thing, Principal Moore. The child that was bullying my daughter, what will be done to him? Surely his part in this is not being simply overlooked."
Elsa apologized meekly while the Principal hesitated.
Stein's eyes were hidden by the glare of the sun on his glasses, and one hand itched to reach up and crank the screw in his head, but he restrained himself.
"Matthew Bishop is being dealt with. He's been transferred to a new class, away from his friends, and won't be eating on the same lunch schedule or have the same recess schedule as his original group anymore."
"At least it's something, Franken." Marie said quietly, still looking down at their daughter. 'She's so much like Franken now… I don't know how we're going to be able to handle it if she starts wanting to dissect things like her father…'
"Is that all?" Stein asked, standing up.
"Um, yes Mr. Stein. Although I should also inform you that when you enroll her in another school and they call me to ask about her expulsion, I am legally obligated to tell them why. It's not her fault though, and I'll make sure they know that."
"Principal Moore, it is Elsa's fault. She willingly chose to say what she did, and she will live with the consequences." The light glinted off his glasses again, hiding his eyes. "Come on, Elsa. It's time to go home."
"Thank you, Principal Moore." Marie said as they left.
A/N: Read the aftermath in the next chapter. I hope that you've enjoyed your introduction to Elsa Marie Stein- and that you picked up on the Easter egg I left the readers of In a Time of Need. Also, there's a little poll on my profile connected to this that I'll run until I reveal the results in story.
To those of you just reading this, this is a sequel to Heart Shaped Stitches, and I suggest that you read that before/during this. Thanks, Love you all!
I don't own Soul Eater.