Someone requested this, but I forget who - oops! So whoever you are, I hope you like it ;) And the song for this fic is "You Don't Make It Easy, Babe" by Josh Ritter. Enjoy 3
"Excuse me for a moment, gentlemen, I have to make a call. Feel free to go get a coffee."
The two men sitting at her conference table stood up and nodded, leaving the office and exchanging a few words.
Joan exhaled and picked up her cell phone, not moving from where she stood behind her desk. She dialed, and the phone only rang twice before there was a click.
"Hey, sweetheart," Arthur said warmly, pleasantly surprised to hear from his busy wife in the middle of the afternoon.
"Arthur, I'm in the middle of a meeting with some men from Finnish Intelligence –"
"Finnish Intelligence? They barely have spies," Arthur cracked, chuckling.
"Well, they may not be master spies, but I think even they will notice when they get back from their coffee break that my water just broke."
Joan nodded, even though he couldn't see her. "Yeah, my water… my water just broke." All of the sudden, she started to panic. "Oh my god, my water just broke."
"Whoa, honey, it's okay," Arthur said. She could hear him grabbing keys and slamming the front door behind him. "I'm going to come pick you up right now, okay? I have your bag in the car."
"It too early," Joan stressed, tugging on her ponytail. "The baby isn't due for three more weeks."
"She'll be fine," Arthur reassured her. "I guess she's just really eager to meet you."
"To meet us," Joan corrected him softly, feeling slightly soothed. "Babe, I'm going to hang up so you can drive. I'll be in front of the building, and I will make sure the guards wave you in."
"Okay," Arthur said. "Hang in there, honey. I'd rather you wait inside, in case you start to feel any pain. I'll come in and get you, just get me cleared."
"Okay. I love you."
"I love you too. See you soon."
Joan hung up and took another deep breath before poking her head out of her office.
"Olivia, I need you to clear my schedule for the day and call the head of campus security."
Olivia looked alarmed. "Any reason, Mrs. Campbell? Are you alright?"
Joan nodded, smiling. "My water just broke."
"Oh, how exciting!," The young woman beamed. Joan nodded again.
"Yes. Arthur is coming to get me, so I need him to be cleared by security. We don't have time for him to go through the normal protocols and get a guest pass."
"Of course, I'll call right away. Let me know if you need anything else."
"I will," Joan said, ducking back into her office. She texted Annie and Auggie that she was going to the hospital, and then sat down, resting her hands on her stomach. She felt a slight pain in her lower back, and she knew that the next few hours were going to be extremely difficult. But for her and Arthur's son, it was worth it.
Arthur arrived at Joan's office twenty-five minutes later, and her pain had started to become unbearable. He walked in and saw her lying on her back on the ground, teeth clenched. He knelt down beside her.
"Hey, honey, are you okay?"
Joan just groaned. "I've been… trying… breathing exercises," she panted, screwing her eyes shut. "But the… damn things…. are… useless." She winced. "Ow."
Arthur put one hand under her lower back. "Okay, I'm going to get you to the car. Have your contractions started?"
"I don't… I don't think so," Joan said, confused. Arthur almost had her standing when she collapsed against him and screamed into his chest. He sighed.
"Well, looks like now they have. C'mon, sweetheart, let's get you to the hospital."
Joan nodded weakly in compliance and with Arthur's arms around her shoulders for support, they made their way to the elevator. Arthur wrapped his arms around her as they took the 7-floor ride down. She whimpered in pain and he stroked her hair.
"I promise the second we get to the hospital, I will personally pump you full of painkillers."
Joan laughed weakly and winced again. "Charming," she managed, trying to smile. "You know how to make a girl feel special, Arthur Campbell."
"I try," he said with a boyish grin. The elevator hit the lobby and they walked out hand in hand, with Joan refusing to show weakness amongst the many agents. The second they reached Arthur's car, she let herself collapse into the passenger seat, her pain momentarily subdued. Right before Arthur started the car, she leaned over and kissed him.
"In case I forget to say it later because the hormones make me a super bitch, thank you," she said, looking him in the eyes. He chuckled and nodded.
Joan had been in the hospital for 6 hours, and still it wasn't time to have the baby. Apparently, the little guy had changed his mind and decided that 3 weeks early was too soon.
"If that nurse knew I could make her disappear without a trace, do you think she would induce more?," Joan asked Arthur, panting. She was standing with her hands against the wall, as if she was trying to push it away from her.
Arthur got up from his stiff plastic chair and took Joan's hands, leading her back to the hospital bed. "Sweetheart, you're only dilated 7 centimeters. The nurse can't do anything but check on you until you're at 10 centimeters."
"I guess you're right," Joan huffed, sitting on the bed. Arthur sat beside her and let her lean against him.
"I know this is painful, honey," he said, stroking her hair. Tears of frustration gathered in Joan's eyes.
"It sucks," she whispered, wrapping her arm around his waist. "I just want him to come out."
"I know, I know," Arthur said, kissing her forehead. "I do too."
"He can't stay in there for three more weeks! He wanted out, now he needs to get out," Joan said, wiping away some tears. She looked at Arthur and he cracked a smile to cheer her up. She laughed, and then gripped his hand tightly, squeezing.
Arthur pulled Joan into his lap and let her squeeze his hands until they were blue.
"Shh, Joan, it's okay. Just take deep breaths."
Joan shook her head, tears rolling down her cheeks. "This… is… the worst," she managed, trying not to scream. "I hope you don't…. mind… having… just… one."
Arthur smiled. "One baby is just fine with me."
"Owwwww," Joan screamed. "Good…. Because…. You really don't… have a… have a choice. Fuck, this hurts. Oh my god."
"Shh, honey, it's okay, it will pass."
"Owww I don't think so," she whimpered, lying down with her head in his lap. "This is pure fucking torture."
Arthur rubbed her lower back, because one of the nurse had told him that the area got particularly sensitive during labor.
"We'll get through it," he said to her. "Why don't you go use the bathroom again, and I'll get more ice chips?"
Joan nodded, breathing through the final moments of the contraction. "Okay. I can do that."
Arthur slowly pulled her up and kissed her cheek.
"That's my girl."
Joan smiled and shuffled to the small bathroom within their hospital room, wincing and placing her hand on her lower back. Arthur ducked into the hallways to grab some ice chips and saw their nurse.
"Hi, Melanie," he said, waving to get her attention. "Do you think you could check Joan's cervix again? She's… a bit impatient."
Melanie smiled. She was a kind and polite woman in her mid-thirties, and was a pro at handling crazy hormonal women in labor. "Of course, Arthur. I'll be there in just a few minutes."
He breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, thank god. I just don't know what to do anymore! I can't help her very much, just sit there and let her mangle my hands."
Melanie laughed. "You're doing a fantastic job. Did I hear you singing earlier?"
Arthur smiled sheepishly. "Yes. Frank Sinatra."
"Joan is very lucky to have husband like you, Arthur," Melanie said, handing him a cup of ice chips. "I'll be in soon."
"Thank you," he said, walking back to the room. Joan was walking around the room, taking deep breaths. Arthur walked over to her and handed her the cup of ice chips, watching her pop one in her mouth and sigh.
"Why don't we talk about something to get your mind off the pain?," Arthur asked, taking her hand and walking with her in a small circular pattern. She smiled.
"Like his middle name, we still haven't picked it. We have Matthew for the first name, after your great uncle, but we still need to choose between the three middle names."
Joan nodded. "Okay. We have Samuel, after your grandfather…"
"Jasper, after your great-grandfather and because you liked it but didn't want to be 'Arthur, Joan, and Jasper'…."
"… and August, after Auggie," Joan said with a smile. "But I don't know, Matthew Jasper Campbell sounds a bit off. I like Samuel, but it's sort of a common middle name…" She trailed off and looked at Arthur. "What do you think? Matthew August Campbell?"
Arthur kissed her cheek and fished another ice chip out of the cup. "Perfect. Auggie will be honored to have a namesake."
Joan sighed and squeezed his hand. "Shit, here we go." Arthur led her over to the bed and placed the ice chips on the bedside table.
"Okay, honey, just breathe and ride it out. Another contraction means you're closer to delivery, remember that."
"Actually, she might be ready," Melanie said, walking into the room. "Joan, I'm going to check your cervix again, let's see how much progress you've made in the last hour."
Melanie put Joan's feet in the elevated straps, and Arthur immediately moved to stand my Joan's head. During one of her earlier contractions when she had been very mean, she told him that if he ever went south of the sheet during labor, she would kill him. And he didn't doubt it. So he just stood there and let her squeeze his hand, at the mercy of a fed-up pregnant woman.
"Okay, I think you're ready," Melanie said, smiling at Joan. "I'll get your doctor in here, and he will give you an epidural. Get ready to push."
Joan looked at Arthur with wide eyes. "Oh my god. I have to push a baby out of my…"
"Honey, don't freak out, it'll be okay."
She smiled and nodded. "You're right. I can do this."
"You can do it," Arthur repeated, stroking her cheek. "I know you can."
Less than an hour later, Matthew August Campbell was born. He was a little on the small side, but otherwise, perfectly healthy. Joan couldn't tear her eyes off her son.
"Isn't he beautiful?," Joan murmured to Arthur, who was sitting in a chair at her bedside. He nodded, lightly touching his son's tiny hand. Matthew was asleep, after screaming his lungs off.
"He's perfect," Arthur whispered, looking at Joan in admiration. "I'm so proud of you, honey."
Joan smiled. "Thanks, Arthur. You've been amazing throughout this whole process."
Arthur kissed her forehead. "Well, you're welcome, but I can't take any credit."
Joan laughed quietly. "Okay, fine. So, did you call anyone yet?"
Arthur shook his head. "No, I wanted to give you some time with her."
They both stared at their newborn son adoringly.
"I've never been so completely enamored with someone," Joan murmured, glancing from Matthew's tiny closed eyes to Arthur's deep blue ones. "All the books tell you that your baby will change your life… but I never expected this."
Arthur smiled and tucked a strand of Joan's pale blonde hair behind her ear.
"Now you know part of how I felt when I first met you."
She smiled at him, tears still shining in her eyes. His words were the truest ones she had ever heard.
3 weeks later, Joan was bouncing baby Matthew on her hip when she got a call from Auggie. It was Sunday morning, and Arthur was making waffles. Joan walked into the kitchen and handed the baby to him, kissing his cheek.
"Honey, I have to go."
"That Chinese terrorist cell the Finnish were helping us track last month? We finally got a lead. That was Annie, a tactical team is in place and we have a flight to Bejing leaving in 2 hours."
"Wait, Joan." Arthur followed her down the hall into their bedroom. "Sweetheart, it's only been 3 weeks since you had the baby. Most women take at least a month off before going back to work. Can't Annie do this without you?"
"Arthur, I want to be there. I need to be there." Joan pulled her oversized Rolling Stones t-shirt over her head and walked into the closet in her purple bra and yoga pants, searching for a good kickass-takedown outfit. She settled on a loose black long-sleeved t-shirt, skinny jeans, and tall black boots, with a pale gray trenchcoat and multicolored striped scarf.
"You don't need to be anywhere, you're overt! You can't take risks anymore," Arthur said, his tone gentle but firm. He was not about to let Joan fly into the middle of a terrorist takedown.
Joan sighed and tossed a few things in her purse. She turned around and looked Arthur.
"I'm going crazy just sitting around. I love being with Matthew, but I need to stretch my legs and get back to work."
She bent down slightly and smiled at Matthew, kissing his cheek.
"Bye, baby," she said to him, staring into his tiny blue eyes. His daddy's eyes.
"Joan, you always say that there's a difference between operatives who are needed in the field and those who need the field," Arthur said, following her back down the hall. "And you always said that you wouldn't become someone who needed the field." He put Matthew in the play pen in the dining room and grabbed Joan's wrist.
"Honey, please. Take it slow, okay?" His eyes were pleading. They had lost so much in the past few months and gotten so close to being separated that he couldn't bear to see her leave. Joan softened.
"Arthur, I will be careful, I promise. And I don't need the field, I just… I need perspective," she said gently, kissing him. "I'll be home in less than two days, you'll see."
"You know that I'll worry about you every second of the day until you walk back through that front door," Arthur whispered, stroking her cheek. Joan put her hand on top of his and nodded.
And with that, Joan placed one more kiss on Arthur's lips and walked out the front door. Arthur picked Matthew up and held his son close to his chest, waiting to hear the engine of Joan's car.
"I hope your momma knows what she's doing," Arthur whispered to Matthew, turning to walk back into the kitchen. "She can be a bit stubborn some times."
Five days after Joan got back from Beijing, she officially went back to work. Arthur had advised against it, but she brushed him off, saying that she had people counting on her.
And then she came home close to tears.
Arthur heard the front door open and stood up from the couch, putting down his newspaper. Matthew was wrapped up in blankets, napping in the play pen.
He saw tears running down her face and pulled her into his arms.
"I won't say I told you so," Joan mumbled, hugging him. He chuckled and stroked her hair.
"Oh, sweetheart, I wouldn't dream of it," he whispered. They broke apart and he wiped her tears away with his thumb. "What's wrong?"
"There's so much pressure. This morning, Olivia told me that I'm a role model and an inspiration to all the female CIA officers. And then I realized… I mess up, and I let down everyone. All the women who, because of me, think that it's possible to be DCS, and a mother, and always on top of the game. It's harder than anything I've ever done in my career."
"Joan, you need to remember that while you're a barrier-breaking kind of gal, you're also human. You don't make it easy on yourself, babe. Just breathe," Arthur said softly, taking her hands in his. "Just take a deep breath and remind yourself to do your best, because even your worst is pretty damn good compared to every man inside that building, myself included."
Joan laughed wistfully. "If only others shared that sentiment."
"Okay, Eric Braithwaite is a dick," Arthur said, his eyes sparkling. Joan laughed.
"Babe, I didn't…"
He shook his head. "I know. All I'm saying is that it doesn't matter who else believes it, as long as you do. Repeat after me, okay?"
Joan sighed and nodded, feeling childish. "Ok."
"I am Joan Campbell, and I'm the DCS of the CIA…"
"I am Joan Campbell, and I'm the DCS of the CIA…"
"… I'm a mom, a wife, and I kick serious ass…"
Joan laughed, her eyes sparkling. Arthur winked at her.
"Okay," she said, taking a deep breath. "I'm a mom, a wife, and I kick serious ass."
Arthur grinned. "Yeah you do." She just smiled at him, and he cleared his throat. "… and no matter what anyone says, I know that I'm damn good at my job, and that the Eric Braithwaites and Henry Wilcoxes of the world can go fuck themselves. The end."
"… and no matter what anyone says, I know that I'm damn good at my job, and that the Eric Braithwaites and Henry Wilcoxes of the world can go fuck themselves. The end," Joan finished with a laugh. She grinned and threw her arms around Arthur, kissing him passionately.
"Thanks," she whispered, leaning her forehead against his. "I really needed that."
"It's what I'm here for," Arthur replied, kissing her again. He took her hand and led her into the kitchen. "I'm also here to relieve stress at the end of the day with a glass of wine."
She smiled at leaned against the counter while he poured two glasses. He handed her one, and gave a quick toast:
"To being badass."
"To being badass," Joan repeated, taking a sip. She set her glass down and snaked her arm around Arthur's waist, sticking her hand in his back pocket and pulling him closer to her, a trick she had used quite a bit when they first started dating.
"Tell me," she whispered in his ear, lowering her voice. "Are you all here to relieve my… physical stress?"
Arthur nodded, kissing her neck. "Yes, I believe that's in the husband job description."
"Great. Then why don't you move the baby to the nursery, grab the baby monitor -" she stopped to suck on his earlobe for just a moment. " – and meet me in the bedroom."
She placed one last kiss on his lips before grabbing her glass of wine and making her way down the hall to the stairs, throwing him a sultry look over her shoulder.
Arthur grinned and picked up Matthew, cradling his son to his chest.
"Your mom is a firecracker, kid," he whispered as he climbed the stairs and went into the nursery. He placed a kiss on Matthew's forehead, turned on the baby monitor, and practically ran to the bedroom.
Time for the fireworks show.