Clive exhaled. "Is it a he or a she?"
"It's a baby girl."
"Is it healthy? I mean–"
Martha could hear Clive interrogating the doctor, asking all kinds of pointless questions to break the silence in the cubicle, but she wasn't taking it in. She was holding her daughter close to her chest, stroking her tiny frail hands, thanking God – if there was a god, and she'd never been more certain that there was – that He'd brought this blood-drenched lump of wrinkles into her life.
"Miss Costello," one of the nurses prised the baby from her arms, "We need to take her for a few minutes now. Just to check everything's okay."
"It is... she is..."
"We'll take good care of her."
She watched them take her baby away, and she wondered if this was what it felt like sitting in court watching your child on trial, knowing it could go either way, knowing they could be locked up or walk free all depending on Martha's performance as their defence barrister.
That was what the doctors were to her now, the barristers: that tiny scrap of life was in their hands, quite literally. She didn't really like the feeling of total hopelessness that enveloped her as the door swung shut. If Billy was here, he'd probably say 'it's a taste of your own medicine, Miss.'
Or maybe he'd call her Martha. Just for once. Just to show that he cared about her, that she was his family, that she meant the world to him.
"It's fine. You're going to be fine."
"You said that last time."
Clive smiled, "And I was right, wasn't I?"
"Mm. Lucky guess."
They'd thought she was going to lose the baby. Billy had left a voicemail, presumably when Clive had first called to tell them she'd been rushed to hospital, saying how much everyone at Chambers loved her, and how they'd be there to support her, whatever happened. He'd called her 'Martha' then. She'd distinctly heard Nick sniffing in the background, and she hadn't felt so alone.
"Marth," he reached out and took her hand, "I'm going to be here for you, okay, through everything. You and the baby. I will provide for my child. You don't need to worry about anything – I'll be here."
"Yeah," she smiled, "Right."
"What are you going to call her?"
"Oh yeah, you sh–" his eyes darted from her to the corridor, and she strained to see what was happening, so he held up a restraining hand, "You need to rest."
"It's only childbirth, Clive. Not a heart operation."
"You weren't saying that five minutes ago, when you were screaming the whole bloody ward down, were you?"
She shook her head, flipped back the bed covers. He tried to lay her down again, but she brushed his hand away and climbed out of the bed. The floor was cold beneath her bare feet, a bit like her body felt, without the child against her breast.
"Martha, you shouldn't–"
"I'm a barrister, Clive. Since when have I ever done what I should?"
He wasn't just referring to her career when he said that, she supposed, with those big warm eyes that hid so many things, good and bad. He was talking about the way she'd defied her parents, her teachers, her peers, climbed away from her rough childhood and really made something of herself. She'd had to sacrifice some things to get where she was, but blimey, she wouldn't have changed it.
"Come here," she mumbled.
He was behind her in an instant. He wrapped an arm around her, not in a romantic way – she wouldn't be messed around like that, not at the moment – but in a friendly, supportive way. She believed he'd be there for her, truly he did; he wasn't a bad guy, wasn't Clive. Foolish sometimes, but not a bad guy.
"Really, what will you call her?"
She leant against the window ledge, watched the sun set over the helicopter pad, casting a beautiful red glow over the world, "Scarlett."
He exhaled again. "Scarlett Costello."
"Sounds funny, sharing my name."
"Sounds kind of beautiful too."
"Aw, Clive," she saw herself smile in the reflection of the glass. She hadn't smiled properly for a long time. She used lipstick as a sort of shield to hide behind, hide from the nasty people in the world, but she didn't need lipstick here. "Not getting sentimental, are you?"
He squeezed her shoulder, "Think you've got a visitor."
"I left the cavalry in the waiting room, Miss. I brought you this; it's just a little something from Chambers. Nick and Niamh chose it."
"Oh, that's lovely. Thank you."
She was in his arms before he could speak again. His fingers were cool around her, soothing everything, keeping her safe. Billy was like a father to her. He gave up a lot for them all, more than they'd ever realise, and she loved him.
"That's okay," he kissed her head, an action unknown for Billy, and so brief he could've denied it later. It made her heart leap, "Congratulations, Martha."
"Billy. I want to ask you a question."
"Sounds deep. Can we sit you back down first? You look a bit peaky," he said. They both laughed at the absurdity of that; Clive took her arm and led her back to the bed. Billy sat on one side, Clive on the other, one of her hands pressed into each of theirs.
"I've called her Scarlett."
"That's a nice name. Although Cleopatra would've been nicer."
"Jesus," Clive said under his breath, "You two are psychopaths."
"Ignore him. Billy, will you do me the honour of being Scarlett's godfather?"
"Oh, Miss. I don't know about that."
"She's going to need someone to keep her on the straight and narrow, isn't she? You've done a good enough job with me over the years," she said softly, laying her head on his shoulder, "Please. It would mean a lot to me."
"I can't refuse you. You know I can't."
The door opened, "Miss Costello?"
"She's absolutely fine," the nurse said, giving her a smile as he stepped forward and showed her the bundle in his arms, wrapped in a pink blanket. The most beautiful thing in the world. "Does she have a name yet?"
"Cleopatra," Clive and Billy said together.
"She's called Scarlett."
"Here you go," he laid her in his arms, "Meet your mummy, Scarlett."
A single tear dribbled down Martha's cheek and fell down onto her newborn daughter's face, "Hello, baby."
If anyone reading this is considering writing a Silk fanfiction, please do. I'd love to read it! When I first began to write fanfiction, I remember there were only a couple of stories in the Scott&Bailey archive; now there are over one hundred, and it's been lovely to watch the fandom grow and read so many amazing stories. Which sounds a bit cheesy, but hey.
Reviews – and ideas for future chapters – would be appreciated!x