Chloe stood on the tarmac, one hand tightly holding onto Stacie's, the other to Aubreys, watching the plane come to a stop. Her mind was blank, Stacie's scream as she took the envelope still fresh in her mind. The ave of relief that it wasn't Beca, quickly followed by the pain tht her best friend had lost her love. Julia would never get to meet the one person in the world who had been so excited to see her.
The wooden box, draped in a flag, was slowly removed from the cargo bay. They had been attacked, caught off guard. Cynthia Rose had gone back to help her squad. She had saved two lives before losing her own. Chloe's breath caught in her throat at the figure walking - hobbling on crutches would be more accurate - next to the soldiers carrying the case. Beca. Beca was hurt.
The brunette looked at Chloe first, giving a small shake of her head, before freeing herself of one crutch and wrapping her arm around Stacie. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I don't know what else to say," she choked out, holding tightly to the woman. Aubrey quickly moved to Stacie's side, leaving Chloe and Beca facing each other. "I told them not to tell you," she explained. "I demanded it. I knew.. I knew you would have your hands full already."
Chloe's hands were frozen at her sides, her brain trying to remember how to breathe.
"My leg.. it's pretty much useless," she said, gesturing down. "It got hit by a chunk of metal, and if Cynthia Rose had not thought to wrap it, I wouldn't be here. It's my fault. I got hurt, and she stopped to help me." There was something in Beca's voice, something beyond pain. "It was my fault."
The redhead finally got her body moving, wrapping her arms around Beca's neck, letting herself cry. She didn't know what to say, but she didn't think anything would actually help her wife at that moment.
"There is a sliver of good news," Beca mumbled as the reluctantly pulled apart, slowly making their way to the car. "I can't be deployed again. I have two months off, then I will be back to work, since I can still do the brunt of everything, but I cannot be deployed again. I never have to go back."
Stacie moved back in with her parents three days later. Close enough that Chloe could go see her, far enough away from everything that was destroying her. After the funeral, she showed Chloe the container that her dad had built to store the flag in. It sat on a shelf in the spare room, right over Julia's crib. They had just returned downstairs, Chloe taking two steps towards Beca before she felt dizzy. She thought she had called out, but she couldn't remember.
It was some amount of time later when her eyes opened, Beca looking down at her, tired, with a small smile on her face. Something was wrong. She was in the hospital. Pain was creeping its way in. "Beca?"
"Hey," her wife whispered, kissing her knuckles. "You passed out."
"She got here a little earlier than planned. But she is healthy. I wish you could have heard her crying when they took her out. She has a damn good set of lungs on her."
"Where is she?"
"They have her in the NICU. She was small, so they want to monitor her. Chlo.. you lost a lot of blood," she said, kissing her hand again. "But the doctors say you are going to be fine."
Chloe tried to sit up, groaning at the sharp pains.
"You gotta stay laying down right now, baby, okay? In the morning we can go down and you can see her." Beca smiled. "What are we gonna name her?"
"Serenity. I want to name her Serenity. But I want you to pick her middle name," Chloe replied, watching as a nurse came in and injected something into her IV. In a few moments, she felt her head getting heavy. "I'm sleepy."
"Sleep. I promise tomorrow we can go see her.. we can see Serenity."
Chloe nodded, letting her eyes close. When she woke again, the same nurse was standing by her bed. "Where's Beca?" she mumbled.
"Down with your daughter," she replied, a smile on her face. "I've been told to bring you down."
Chloe tried to sit up slowly, ignoring the smaller amounts of pain as the woman helped her into a wheelchair and led her down the hall. They stopped in a small room, washing their hands, before going into the room. It was quiet, and Chloe could hear Beca mumbling, her arm stretching into the plastic around the small baby, the smile evident on her face.
"Your mama said I could give you a middle name, and I stayed up all night thinking," Beca said, turning to look as Chloe watched her. "It was a really, really hard choice, but I think I settled on something the three of us can be happy with."
The redhead slipping her arm in beside Beca's, smiling as tiny fingers curled around her pinky.
"Your full name is Serenity Hope Mitchell."
"Why Hope?" Chloe asked, her voice quiet.
"Because looking at her.. it gives me hope that everything is going to be alright from here on out."