So when you're near me, darling can't you hear me?
The love you gave me, nothing else can save me.
When you're gone, how can I even try to go on?
When you're gone, though I try, how can I carry on..
"No matter how bad things get, something good is out there, just over the horizon…"
The one phrase that was keeping Hal sane right now in this fight between supernatural forces. It had been years since his first encounter with the Green Lantern's people, but the same string of words remained firmly in his mind everyday. Getting him through any battle he had to face with them. Alongside the thoughts of his wife. His beautiful, angelic wife. Loving Carol unconditionally was like breathing to Hal. It was natural. Perfect. She was everything to him, nothing less. Since their wedding day, his love for Carol had grown to immense levels. He knew nothing could break them apart.
"You need to get back to your wife, Jordan." Tomar-Re, Hal's very first mentor, the "bird-man" as Hal called him, always took into consideration that he had a family. He too had one back at Sector 2814. Tomar understood exactly how Hal was feeling, they both had to spend long periods away from their families. Hal looked down at planets below him and Tomar. Earth seem so small in comparison to the dark depths of the galaxy currently surrounding Hal and his fellow Corps.
"I know, I know. She needs me.." Hal responded, frustrated. His wife's due date was yesterday, and he knew their baby could choose to appear at any minute. But instead of being by her side, helping her, he was fighting off a stubborn Parallax, that was set to swallow the planet behind them whole. Killing off an entire race of innocent Lanterns.
"Goddammit, why wouldn't you just DIE?!" Hal focused his mind on producing anything that could get into the Parallax's core and destroy it. A punch, a knife, a bomb. Tomar realized Hal's anger would have to take over any emotion he was feeling for Carol and their baby. The Parallax would automatically sense any weakness and fear in Hal's mind.
"We've done training for times like this, Hal. Channel your anger." Hal's eyes were glowing white behind his thin green mask, his teeth gritting as he repeats the phrase in his mind again.
"No matter how bad things get, something good is out there...Something good, something good.."
"Why won't she come out…" Carol whined painfully.
She had been in labor for over 20 hours and she was on her last ropes. She was overly tired, confused and worried as to why her baby was having such a hard time inside her. Over and over she would continue to push through contractions but nothing progressed even if her body told her she was ready.
Jack, Hal's older brother, was right by her side. Like he had been for practically her whole pregnancy. "She's a stubborn fighter, like her mother and father. Just relax, breathe, breathe… She'll be out soon." Jack soothingly whispered close to Carol's ear trying to calm her down. He squeezed her hand and hung closely next to her.
Carol struggled through a few more contractions until the doctor announced he was going to help bring the baby down for her. Carol's best friend, Lori, held onto her hand as the doctor assisted her. Carol winced through the process, as Jack and Lori continued to hold onto her telling her it was okay, over and over again.
"Alright, time to bring this baby into the world."
The nurses once again gathered around, placing a blanket upon Carol's swollen belly. They helped her pull back her legs and guide Jack and Lori to prepare to stay close with Carol to reassure her.
"Carol, when you feel the next contraction, give me the biggest push."
Carol felt the immense pain of the contraction building up. She needed her husband. She didn't care where he was, what he was doing, she needed him. She couldn't do this anymore.
"That's it, bring her out." The doctor encouragingly said, and Carol continued to groan as her baby girl slowly began to come into the world.
"Carol, oh my god, she has so much hair!" Lori excitingly said as he watched the baby's birth.
"Okay now, one more big push and your little girl will be here." The doctor keep encouraging, looking up every now and then to check that Carol was okay.
"I can't, I can't." Carol huffed, her pain stricken face relaxing a minute. "Doctor, do it for me." She whined as she laid her head back on the hospital pillow. Breathless and tired, Carol just wanted her baby here. And Hal beside her.
Lori smiled calmly and shook her head, scraping Carol's hair back from her forehead with her hand. "Honey, I'm afraid you're the only one who can now. Relax a moment and build up your energy again."
"No, no, no, I can't, I can't. Hal, I need him. I need Hal.." She painfully whined again.
Lori and Jack looked up at the mention of Hal, their eyes meeting.
"Come on, your little girl needs you." The doctor sternly told Carol.
Thinking of nothing else than bringing her baby into the world, Carol let out a loud groan and bore down. Lori began to rub her back, and turned back just in time to see the little girl's birth. "She's here, she's here…it's okay she's here." Lori said happily to her exhausted best friend.
Carol fell back against the pillows propped up behind her, as she opened her eyes, she saw her newborn daughter placed on her chest. "Oh my God, she's so tiny." Carol said as she cupped her daughter's head.
"She's here. I have a niece. I have a niece!" Jack happily called out.
The little girl began to cry, loudly and forcefully. Her chest went up and down as she took her first breaths.
"It's okay, sweetheart. I know. Welcome to the world, baby girl." Carol happily said soothingly to her newborn daughter. "Oh my god—" She began to shed some tears as Jack leaned in to take a closer look at his niece.
The nurses took the baby over to weigh her and clean her off. Jack quickly got up and walked towards his niece, he turned back and looked at Carol who hadn't taken her eyes off her newborn. He gave her a warm smile. As he knew he had to protect them both when Hal wasn't present, the promises of brotherhood overtook any others. And Hal had made Jack swear to take care of his wife and baby whenever he wasn't around.
"Six pounds and seven ounces! Good heart rate. Now lets get those little baby feet on a piece of paper." The nurse happily announced.
Jack stroked his niece's chest and grabbed carefully onto her little hand. He held her little palm and cradled it in his hand. The little girl was so precious and he couldn't believe that his brother and sister-in-law had created this little wonder.
The nurses wrapped the baby girl up in a soft blanket, they brought her over to Carol and placed her back down in her mothers arms. Lori and Jack settled either side of Carol's bed, watching the new mother with her baby.
"She's so perfect." Carol stated.
"She's a little fighter like her mom." Lori smiled, her head raised up to look at the baby.
"And a little determined like her father." Jack's words were like a stab in Carol's heart. Her husband had missed his daughter's birth. With how long her labor had been, she thought Hal would have had time to at least come and check on how she was doing. Carol sweetly kissed her little girl's button nose and stroked her soft cheek. Jack stepped back, the realization of his words sinking in, he took a seat in the chair close to Carol's bedside.
"I already love her. I'm gonna spoil her so much." Lori said, trying to break the tension that had suddenly filled the room.
The doctor walked over to Carol's bedside and smiled. "She has some bruising over her head, she was stuck behind your pelvic bone for a while. You might feel some discomfort for the next few hours." The doctor said informing Carol as he gently pointed out the bluish purplish coloring on the her baby's head. "It will go away though, very shortly. Nothing to worry about." He smiled again. "She's a little trooper."
Everything everyone was saying around her just reminded Carol of Hal. She had no idea if he was okay, what if something had happened? Where was he? What was he doing? Carol took a deep breath, glancing up to Lori. "Could you try Hal's phone again for me?" Her voice was filled to the brim with disappointment.
Lori could hear Carol's voice about to break, she raised a hand up to brush soothingly over Carol's arm. Nodding straight away, Lori grabbed her phone from placed on the bedside cabinet, getting up to leave the room to call Hal's phone for the millionth time that night.
"Carol?" In recognition of her name being spoken, Carol's head shot up to see Hal wavering in the doorway. Lori and Jack's expressions suddenly turned to disgust and disappoint that he had only just arrived. Having no idea what he'd really been doing..
"I called you like 45 times, Hal." Lori remarked, glancing down at Hal gripping his phone in his palm.
"Bad signal, I couldn't pick any of them up. The traffic into San Diego was backed up for miles.."
Carol knew their code. When Hal mentioned traffic, it meant he had done a difficult job. She tried to understand. Carol saw Jack get up, about to confront his brother. Only to see him stop when her baby let out a small cry from held securely in her arms.
Hal looked over Lori's shoulder, hearing the cry, he put the pieces together. His baby was here. He stepped past Lori to approach his wife's bedside, seeing the little hand's of his daughter moving under the blanket. He couldn't speak, he couldn't find any words. This moment was what they had both been waiting for. All the moments he had felt his daughter kicking beneath his hand, hearing her heartbeat during the ultrasound. All leading up to this.
"Wanna meet your daughter?" Carol smiled softly up to her husband, slowly tilting their daughter in her arms so he could see.
Hal was mesmerized by this tiny angel in his wife's arms. She looked so small & fragile, like a china doll curled up in Carol's arms, and it only made him more protective of them both. He took in all of her little features, her eyelids, her lips, how her jaw met her dimpled chin.
Carol raised their daughter up in her arms, letting Hal carefully take her as he perched on the edge of the bed beside his wife. The baby let out a soft coo at the new set of arms she'd been placed into. He was cautious of her, how she'd react to him, if he did something wrong, but he knew he would never let anything hurt his little girl. He gazed down at his wife, leaning down to gently press his lips to hers, unable to even begin to understand how much been she'd been through to bring their miracle into the world.
"Hello my gorgeous angel." Hal's voice was soft as he straightened his back, kissing the porcelain skin of his daughter's cheek. Carol took her hand away from cupped over their daughter's head. Hal began to take in all of her features up close, her eyes were wide and the same chocolate brown similar to his wife's. His eyes traveled over her forehead to the soft strands of dark hair covering his baby girl's head, Hal frowned at the sight of the bluish bruising close to the middle of his daughter's head.
"It's okay, Hal. She was a little stubborn."
Carol tried to use her hands to move her body higher up the bed under the blankets, exhaling a deep breath at the aching pain she associated with what the doctor had told her. Hal's head automatically turned to his wife, hearing her releasing a breath in what seemed like she was in pain. Carol looked up at her husband, his expression showing her his exact thoughts.
"The doctor said she got stuck behind my pelvic bone. And it might be uncomfortable for a few hours. But her bruising will fade soon, apparently."
Hal forced a soft smile down to Carol. He knew there was a reason he needed to be beside her so badly through this, his mind was overwhelming him with what seemed like a tsunami of guilt. He held his daughter cradled in the curve of his left arm, reaching the other out to rest his hand on the small of Carol's back.
"Do you want to tell our daughter her name?" Carol immediately changed the subject, moving their daughter's blanket higher up over her tiny shoulders. Hal saw it coming, his wife always put everyone else before herself, and now he had the responsibility of that for two girls in his life.
Hal murmured each word, slowly but surely, making sure he didn't wake his now sleeping newborn baby girl.
"Grace Carla Jordan."
Carol leaned her head against her husband's side, she loved being able to finally say her daughter's name. Hal's arm tightened around her body to bring her closer to him.
"Now I've got two beautiful women in my life."
Carol let her teeth bite down on her bottom lip as she grinned up at her husband. She didn't care where he'd been now, she didn't care what had happened, all that mattered was this moment. Her perfect little family together. Hal leaned down to kiss his wife's soft lips, murmuring against them.
"I'm so proud of you.."