"Ey yo baby! You want some of the Vito? There's plenty to go around, hot stuff," said Vito to a woman in a bikini as he was leaving the ocean, dripping wet.
Vito had spent the whole day surfing, lifting weights, tanning, and flirting with hot girls on the beach, even though it was only April and the air still had a chill in it. It was mostly empty, at least. Mike was giving him time to blow off steam, and his time was almost up.
"Vito! For the last time, you cannot hit on other women. I am married!" said Mike from inside his mind. The others had started occasionally letting him be aware when they were in control, but when they did, they usually regretted it. Vito certainly did whenever he was on the beach.
"Exactly, you're married. Vito is still hot and fresh on the market. I ain't a monk, bro."
"Vito, put my wedding ring back on right now."
"It's all in good fun, man, chillax. Besides, if you're worried about Zoey, I'm sure she wouldn't mind me havin' some quality time with a hot babe."
"Why don't you ask her yourself when we get home?"
Vito thought about that a moment. She'd gone commando on him before for messing around with other girls one too many times, and he didn't really want to repeat the pain of that incident. "Nah, I'm good."
"That's what I thought."
Vito left the beach and reluctantly put his shirt and Mike's ring back on, and Mike took back control. The first thing he felt was a headache brought on from all Vito's partying at the club the night before, when he'd started his Saturday early. Vito handled hangovers much better than Mike did, although to his credit, he didn't drink as much now as he used to, and he only occasionally would drink and drive, which was a major improvement from the way he used to party.
Zoey really was a genius for coming up with this, letting the others have fun on certain days so they were less likely to intrude at inconvenient times. They each got one Saturday a month to do whatever they wanted, or at least, almost whatever they wanted. Next week would be Svetlana's turn, and she had plans to compete in a very prestigious gymnastics tournament several hours away. Zoey would be accompanying her.
Mike drove back to his and Zoey's house. They lived in a cottage just a few miles away from the large, deep, dark woods near the town. It was small, but warm and cozy.
"Zoey, I'm home!" announced Mike as he opened the door.
He got no answer. She must not have heard him. He went to their room and found her in the bathroom sitting on the toilet, a pregnancy test in hand.
"Is it negative again?" he asked, part of him hoping it was. They had been trying for over a year to have a baby, but so far they hadn't had any luck. Secretly, he was grateful for this. He wanted children, but with his disorder, it would be a disaster.
"Mike, it's positive." Mike was sure his heart stopped in that moment. She turned to look at him. "Am I dreaming?"
"I don't think so."
For a long while, both were too shocked to say or do anything else. Finally, Zoey smiled and she ran to hug her husband. "Can you believe it? We're going to be parents! I was starting to think we wouldn't be able to have kids, like your mom. It was heartbreaking."
"What if it's a false positive?"
He regretted the words immediately and wished he could take them back. Zoey's face fell, all traces of happiness sucked out of it. "You might be right. Oh Mike, I don't want you to be right."
He had to fix the mess he'd just made. "Why don't you go see the doctor? So we can know for sure."
"Okay, I'll call and make an appointment. Your dinner's on the table."
Mike felt terrible for crushing Zoey's hopes. She called and scheduled an appointment with the doctor for the next morning, and then joined him at the dinner table. Dinner consisted of steak and salad, but neither of them were very hungry.
The rest of the evening passed without event. They put on an action movie, but neither one was paying it any attention. Before they were even thirty minutes in, Zoey turned the movie off and they went to bed early.
"I'm sorry about what I said earlier, I just don't want you getting your hopes up if… if it doesn't work out," said Mike after they were under the covers.
"I know, but I just want it so badly. I mean, I have nothing against adoption, if it comes to that. We would get a child to love, and they would get a loving family, like you did when you were a kid. But it just wouldn't be the same, you know? I would love any child to death, but I want it to be our child. I keep imagining them. I can just hear the pitter-patter of their tiny feet as they run to our bed and crawl under the covers during a thunderstorm. I can just see their drawings hanging on the fridge. I can just hear their laughter as they ride on your shoulders to the carnival. There are so many things I want to do with them, but I'm so afraid I'll never get the chance. It sounds silly, but how can I miss someone so much that I've never even met?"
Mike was now imagining all those things, and more. He had never realized how much he wanted to be a dad until he married Zoey, but they could never make it work. Zoey would be a great mom, but he could never be the kind of father their child deserved. He wanted to tell Zoey this, but he just couldn't bring himself to. And if they weren't able to have children of their own, then the problem would solve itself. Unless she wanted to adopt, but maybe then he could tell her. It was cowardly, he knew, but he couldn't hurt her by telling her he didn't want kids.
"You still awake?" she asked.
He didn't answer, pretending to be asleep. Zoey didn't speak anymore and soon fell asleep, but Mike didn't sleep at all that night.
The next morning, Mike was pacing in the waiting room, anxiously waiting for Zoey to come out and report to him the news. He had tried sitting still a few times, but when he did he felt a powerful urge to tear up the magazines to distract himself. At least this way, he wouldn't be destroying anyone's property.
After what felt like an eternity, Zoey finally came back out, her expression neutral.
"What did the doctor say?" asked Mike.
Zoey looked at him and her face broke out in an overjoyed smile. "It wasn't a false positive! Mike, I'm pregnant! Can you believe it?"
Mike forced a smile and hugged her. "That's great!"
Zoey talked nonstop all the way home about preparations for the new baby. In her excitement, she didn't notice how quiet Mike was being. Once they got back home, Zoey called all their friends and told them the wonderful news while Mike went to their room to be alone and think of the implications.
That night, he put on his jacket and took the car keys. Zoey was talking on the phone but stopped to say, "Mike, where are you going? Aren't you going to have dinner?"
"I'm going to see Cam, tell him the good news in person."
"That's a great idea! I was just about to call him, but he'd love a visit. I'll keep your food warm, okay?"
"See you later!"
Mike didn't respond. He shut the door and faced the chilly April air. He got in the car and drove to Cam's house, which was about an hour away. Which gave his alters plenty of time to speak their minds.
"What's that sound?" said Chester. "Oh, it's the sound of Mike about to do somethin' stupid again."
"Come on Mike, ya already hold the record for dumb-butt moves, there's no need to go breakin' your own high score," said Vito.
"What are you doing Mike? Are you really going to Cameron's house? Or are you leaving and never coming back?" asked Svetlana.
"I am going to Cam's house, thank you very much. I just might make a slight detour on the way back."
"You would leave your wife just because she is having baby? What kind of husband does zat?" asked Svetlana.
"Do you think I want to leave? I'm trying to do the right thing here!"
"So noble," said Chester. "I'm looking at you and all I see is a coward wearing a cape to make himself look heroic."
"Come on, mate, open your eyes! Zoey's the best thing that's ever happened to you besides us!" said Manitoba.
"You're darn tootin! She's the only good thing that's ever happened to him, dagnabbit!" said Chester.
"You like her, we like her, we've finally agreed on something! If we can all agree on something, it's a sign that it's meant to be! We're never gonna agree on anything else ever again, you know. It's not gonna get any better than this, mate. Zoey's one in a million, and if you throw her away, you won't ever find another sheila like her, not if ya lived a thousand lifetimes."
"Unless you were to hook up with Scarlett Johansson, of course," said Vito.
"You can't leave your wife on our account, ya kookaburra!" Manitoba continued. "What happened to for better or worse? I think Zoey can handle a little worse. She proved it by marrying your sorry tail."
"And we've been on our best behavior recently, in case you hadn't noticed," Vito chimed in. "I totally coulda brought that foxy lady to a motel or somethin' and had some fun, but I didn't!"
"Yes, exactly!" agreed Svetlana. "If we are making ze effort to behave ourselves, zen you must be giving us ze chance! If you just expect us to be ruining everything, zen we will go out of our way to ruin everything so you are not disappointed."
"Never leave a man behind. Or in this case, never leave your sheila and joey behind," said Manitoba.
"Vito, you don't even want me to have a baby! You've been trying to talk me out of it since day one, now you want me to stay? What made you change your mind?"
Vito was silent for a moment. Then he said, "I don't know. Maybe it's because I've made sacrifices for you, like throwing away Anne Maria and all those other girls I coulda hooked up with, just so you could be happy. I don't even like you that much, but I did it anyway, and it's like none of that even matters to you. You could show some gratitude every now and again. At least you get to be with the girl of your dreams; me being just an alternate personality, I can't have that. None of us can. I could take this body and do whatever I want, be with whomever I like, but that feels too much like something Mal would do. Zoey's a plain jane ball and chain, but she's your plain jane ball and chain. No, I don't want a brat, but since it's too late for that now, you might as well go clean up the mess you made. And who knows, maybe it'll be a boy. I could live with that, I guess."
"Mike, we do not always get along well, zat is true. Ze others and Svetlana resent you having all ze control and we resent having to share one body. But as much as we resent you, and ze others will never admit zis, but we were brought into existence to help you be dealing with your terrible past. We knew your pain, we felt your fear, and we all hoped zat things would get better, not just for our sakes, but for yours. We did not enjoy seeing you suffer, and we wanted you to one day be happy and safe. Each of us still has a part, even if it is very small, zat wants to see you happy. And you will never be happy if you do not have Zoey. She is very forgiving, but even she has limits, and if you do zis, Svetlana fears zat you will have killed your last chance with her."
Mike felt very conflicted, but he was stubborn. "I don't need your advice."
"Apparently, you do. Poor Zoey. You dang kids these days, no loyalty or nothin," said Chester.
"Will you stop? Besides, it's not you guys I'm afraid of. You're not the only ones living inside my head, remember?"
The others gave him the silent treatment after that, which was a big relief to Mike. But he couldn't stop himself from thinking about what they had said, and the logic in it.
An hour later, he was parked outside Cam's apartment. As he went to knock on the door, he got a final warning from Svetlana.
"Don't be doing it, Mike! Or you will never stop regretting it."
Mike said nothing. He knocked on the door, and a minute or two later Cameron answered.
"Mom, for the last time I am fi- oh, hey Mike. Sorry, I just got my mom to leave fifteen minutes ago. It's a very arduous process. But enough about that, what's up?"
"Oh, nothing really. Zoey's pregnant, is all."
"What! That's awesome Mike, come inside! I've been working on an experiment with some of the mold I collected a few years back in Chef's fridge, but this is even more exciting!"
Mike went inside and sat down on the couch while Cam took the armchair.
"Did you just find out today?"
"Yeah, Zoey went to see a doctor and he confirmed what the test said."
"Why isn't Zoey with you?"
"She's at home, letting the whole world know the news."
Cameron paused a moment and said, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't seem too happy about it."
"I want to be happy. I want a baby, I really do, but I just don't see how it would be feasible with my… with my condition. Having to deal with my alters all the time, it's already like we have quintuplets."
"That's very true, but you and Zoey will make it work. You've made your marriage work thus far, after all."
"You don't get it, Cam. This is a baby we're talking about! A whole new life, a blank slate for me to either raise or ruin." Cameron tried to speak, but Mike interrupted him. "Don't believe me? A few months ago we went to see a fertility doctor. He saw both our medical records, and afterwards he pulled me aside and flat out told me that he believed it was unwise for us to try to conceive. He was worried about a child's safety in my care. He also said that with my genetics it would definitely have a predisposition for developing mental illness, MPD or anything else. I never told Zoey because I was too ashamed to."
"Oh Mike," said Cameron, feeling sorry for him.
"Can you imagine growing up with a dad like me? Constantly changing his personality and humiliating you all the time? You should have seen all those comments on the Total Drama website saying that I'm a lunatic and people like me should be kept locked away to keep the sane population safe. Sure, I could keep it hidden for a few years, but sooner or later the kid would realize what's going on, and from then on it would look at me like I'm a freak. I don't want my kid to think of me as a freak, Cam. I want to be someone my kid could look up to, not the family burden and embarrassment."
Cameron kept quiet. Mike needed time to rant and get all of this off his chest before they could move on.
"Or what if the kid does have my mental disorder? What if one day it starts talking in a foreign accent, or acting like a much older person, or starts hurting other people? I don't want my kid to have to go through the hell I've been through. Ridicule, shunning, drugs, psychiatrists, and the terrifying possibility that you might one day lose the fight and have to spend the rest of your life in a padded cell. No one should have to go through that, certainly not an innocent kid."
Cameron wanted to speak up so badly, but he remained silent.
"Or the worst possibility, that Mal might come back and do something to it. The others and I have been getting along really well recently, it's amazing. But I can't do anything about Mal except keep him locked away, and even then there's always the chance I might slip up and he could escape. Just imagine all the unspeakable horrors he could do to a pregnant woman, or a newborn baby." He shivered as he said this last part. "I'd never forgive myself if that happened. Now do you see what I'm talking about?"
"Yeah, I do. So what are you going to do?"
"I have to leave, it's the only way. I should never have let it get this far, and now I have to pay the price. It's the only way to keep them both safe, and to give the baby a chance at a normal life."
Now that Mike had had the chance to speak, Cameron was done holding his tongue. "Does Zoey know that you feel this way?"
"No. I know, I know, I should have told before we started trying, but I couldn't bear to break her heart like that. Me not wanting kids wouldn't have stopped her from wanting them, she just would have felt guilty about it. I couldn't bring myself to crush her dreams of a family, but I know how stupid I was to not put a stop to it. Now it's too late and I've ruined everything for us."
"Didn't you learn your lesson in Total Drama about keeping secrets from Zoey?"
"Old habits die hard, I guess."
"So you thought you'd get her pregnant and then tell her the truth by never seeing her again?"
"Don't say it like that! And it's not like I would completely abandon her. I would make sure she had plenty of money and the child never wanted for anything."
"That's not enough, Mike. Zoey doesn't want your money, she wants your time. She wants you."
"She would be fine without me, she's smart and strong. Not to mention beautiful. She could find someone else, if she wanted." Mike's voice broke on that last part.
"Zoey loves you, and she's made sacrifices to be with you. Don't belittle that. Tell me, Mike. Do you really think leaving would solve everything? Do you truly believe that? Look me in the eye and tell me you truly believe it."
Mike couldn't meet his eyes. "But Cam-"
"I'm not done. First of all, think of what it would do to Zoey. It would devastate her, she'd never get over it, and how could she trust anyone with her heart ever again? She's strong, but she's fragile too, Mike. And what if the baby does develop MPD? Would you really leave her to deal with that alone, by herself?"
"The baby would be less likely to develop the condition if I'm not around."
"That is a possibility, but not guaranteed. If the baby does develop the disorder, at least it would have someone who understands what they're going through to help them cope with it and learn to live a somewhat normal life. You didn't have anyone like that in your life growing up, and you suffered a lot because of it."
Mike hadn't thought of it that way.
"And you do realize that the main cause of MPD is extreme childhood trauma, right? Your parents and the people around you when you were a child tortured you to the point where the only possible way you could stay sane was to split your personality into pieces and have those pieces help you cope with the abuse. You and Zoey are going to do nothing but love this child. I really don't think MPD is going to be an issue for it."
"Okay, you do have a point there, but my argument still stands."
"You will embarrass your kid every now and again, that's kind of in the parent job description. Just ask my mom. Better an embarrassing parent who tries to do a good job and cares than a parent who up and leaves when the going gets tough. Better a dad with multiple personalities than no dad at all."
Mike thought of the memories of his biological father that Mal had given him, and how he was almost never around. But it was better that way, because when he was there, all he had ever done was abuse him. Mike didn't want to be like that. He wanted to be like his foster dad, who had never left him, even after he had pushed him far beyond his limits. But this was different. Jack didn't have an evil alter ego trying to destroy everything he loved. His presence had never posed a threat to Mike's safety.
"Okay, you've got a point there too, but what about Mal? I might as well hire Jack the Ripper to babysit, it would probably be safer."
"Living with Mal is dangerous, but so is crossing the street, driving a car, swimming in the ocean, or keeping a large dog as a pet. No one's going to stop doing those things, and you shouldn't let Mal have the power over your life. You've stopped him before, and it's been three years since he last showed himself. But if and when he does come back, you have Zoey and me to help you get rid of him again. We're your support team Mike, so let us support you!"
"I'm just so scared of what could happen. Cameron, you have no idea how scared I am. I want to believe you, I really do, but you don't spend every day hoping and praying that your evil alter ego doesn't decide to rear his ugly head and set the whole world on fire."
"Why did you really come here, Mike? Did you come for advice, or did you come thinking I would agree that you should leave so you could feel better about it?"
"How could you think that of me?"
"Well, it seems like your mind is already made up."
Mike sighed. "Okay, I guess I did come here for validation. I just don't know what else to do."
"How about a little trust? In me, Zoey, your personalities, and most importantly, yourself. I can't make you stay Mike, but just think of what you'd be throwing away. This is your child we're talking about, and you'll only get one chance with it. Don't blow it without first giving it a try."
"All right, you're right. I'll go back to Zoey, I won't leave her. But do you really, honestly believe I can do this?'
"You're a great guy, Mike. Any kid would be lucky to have you as a dad, quirk or no quirk. Now get back home, before Zoey comes looking for you. And tell her the truth, no more lies and secrets."
"Okay, I'm leaving. See you later."
Mike opened the door to leave, but Cameron spoke up one last time. "And Mike, don't go ragging on people with MPD and calling them freaks, because I happen to know someone with the disorder, and he's my best friend in the whole world."
Mike smiled in spite of himself and said, "Thanks Cam."
Mike closed the door, and Manitoba said, "Oh sure, listen to the pipsqueak. It's not like we were sayin' the. Exact. Same. Thing."
"Give me a break guys, I chose the right thing eventually, didn't I?"
Mike bickered with the others the entire ride home, but he was immensely glad that Cam had been able to talk him into coming back. He was still worried, but for the first time, he was actually looking forward to raising a child.
He went inside and found Zoey sitting on the couch looking through a book of baby names.
"It's a bit early to be looking at names, don't you think?"
Zoey closed the book and ran over to hug him. Mike hugged her back, he was so happy to have her.
"Don't be a buzzkill, Mike. But did you have a good time at Cam's? Is he excited about the baby?"
"Oh yeah, real excited."
"Now, I know it's too early to be picking out names, but I checked my due date, and the baby's coming just a week or two before Christmas. Isn't that cool? Since we're having a Christmas baby, I was thinking we could choose a name that's kind of Christmas-y or wintery, like Ivy, or Nicholas. Unless you think it's a dumb idea."
"No, no I like it. But Zoey, I need to tell you something I should have told you a long time ago."
"It' gonna be a bloke, I can feel it! I can't wait to meet the little bugger, a right good treasure-huntin' sidekick he'll make."
"No, she is a girl, and she will be Svetlana's little ballerina."
"As long as it's quiet and doesn't stink up the whole house, I couldn't care less what the young'un is!"
Mike was standing in the hospital bathroom letting his personalities vent their excitement. He had been sitting in the waiting room, but the others wouldn't shut up and he kept getting weird looks from people, so he took the party to the men's room where they could have more privacy.
Zoey was in the delivery room in her eleventh hour of labor. It was exactly a week before Christmas, and she had gone into labor as they were repainting the kitchen, and he had immediately taken her to the emergency room. They had planned for him to be with her during delivery, but his alters wouldn't go away and so the doctor had, kindly but sternly, asked him to wait outside. He didn't mind waiting outside, as long as Zoey and the baby turned out okay.
"Ey yo Mike, after the magical birth happens, you wanna get a drink to celebrate? There's a bar a couple blocks from here, the barmaids are smoking hot. No one would blame you for taking a few shots, it's the only proper way to celebrate the death of romance in your relationship."
"Mike will not be drinking ze alcohol," said Svetlana. "Lips zat kiss ze bottle will not be kissing ze baby girl!"
"I'm tellin' ya, it's a son child, not a daughter child. The sooner you get that through your thick head, Twinkletoes, the better," said Manitoba.
"I do not think you want to be going zere, Tasmanian Devil."
"What did you call me?"
"Hey Mike, wanna tell me again why you lovebirds didn't get an ultrasound like we told ya to? We could have totally avoided this argument," said Vito. "I mean, obviously it's a dude, but you could have removed all doubt and eliminated the debate."
"We wanted it to be a surprise. This is our first baby, it's special."
"No, you're special, and not in a good way."
"I bet my Saturdays for the next three months that it's a bloke!"
"You are being on!"
"I want in on this bet! How about you Gramps, care to wager?"
"I ain't risking three Saturdays over a person's gender! You salami heads go right ahead."
"It's settled! Whoever wins gets the other's Saturdays. Sorry Comrade, looks like you won't get to practice your flipping for a while. But that'll just give me more time for treasure hunting, so they're going to a good cause."
"Zat is what you think!"
A man suddenly exited one of the stalls and stared at him as he went to wash his hands. Mike thought he was alone.
"You heard all that, didn't you?"
The man nodded. "You uh, you talk to yourself often?" he asked.
"Um, first time dad nerves?"
"Oh, okay. That's normal, I guess…"
The man dried his hands and quickly exited the bathroom.
"Okay guys, I'm going to leave this bathroom now and you're going to get a grip and control yourselves. Otherwise they're going to put us in the mental ward and that just puts a damper on everything, doesn't it? So keep it down so we'll be ready when the doctor comes to get us, all right?"
"Mike, you just took a life. The life of the party," said Vito.
But the others managed to get their acts together and not cause any more trouble, to Mike's immense relief. They didn't pop up again, but they kept up a restless chatter that bordered on argument inside his head. He sat in a chair and went from drumming his fingers on the armrest to flipping through old magazines he'd already read to pacing around in circles to asking the nurses at the reception desk if anything had changed. Finally, after another two hours of waiting, a doctor came in and called his name. He practically leapt out of the chair and ran at him.
"Is Zoey okay? Can I see her? What about the baby? It's not switching personalities, is it? What happened?"
"Your wife is fine, and so is the baby. Your wife requested I not tell you the gender so she could surprise you. You may see her now, if you like."
Mike hugged the doctor and said, "Thank you! Thank you so much!"
Mike ran off to Zoey's room, leaving the doctor flustered.
He opened the door and his heart leapt when he saw Zoey, looking exhausted but happy, holding a little pink bundle in her arms.
"Hey Daddy," she said, her smile widening at the sight of him.
He stood there a moment, trying to remember how to form words. His legs were like jello, and the room started to spin. "I think I need to sit down," he said. He quickly took the seat by the bed to keep from fainting. He heard a soft coo come from the blanket.
"She's a girl?"
"Is she healthy? She hasn't tried to do any flips around the room, has she?"
"She's just fine."
"Thank goodness. Can I…Can I hold her?"
"I don't think she would object to that." Zoey held out the tiny bundle and gently, ever so gently, he took her in his arms.
"I'm a daddy," he said as tears ran down his cheeks. He had achieved the impossible, he had done what the doctors and everyone else thought he never could. "I have a baby girl. I have an angel, and she's wonderful. She's beautiful, just like you."
Vito suddenly took hold even though Mike still had his shirt on. "Hold on, maybe they got the wrong color blanket." Vito checked underneath the blanket. "Dammit Zoey! I told you I wanted a boy. You did this just to spite me, I know it. What a rip-off."
"I had no power over this. I'm very sorry for your loss, Vito," said Zoey.
"It's bad enough I gotta put up with a brat, but you had to go and make it a girl. And now I've lost three Saturdays to Twinkletoes! I'll be stuck inside Mike's head for three months, the icing on my awfulness cake. And you'll probably drown her in pink and ponies and unicorns. What do you say we switch her out with a boy? It'll be like those movies where the babies get switched by accident but no one realizes until decades later, and by then it's too late for trade-backs."
"That's low Vito, even for you."
"You think that's low, that wasn't even plan A! Plan A is to "accidentally" forget her at the hospital."
"Vito, I'm warning you…"
"All right, all right. I'm not gonna give the brat away, calm down. I'm gonna say this right now though, I ain't changin' no diapers."
Next, it was Svetlana's turn to hold the baby. "Yes, Svetlana wins! She said it would be a girl, and voila, here she is! Zere will never be another gymnast like her! And I get six extra Saturdays! Zis could not be more perfection."
Manitoba took his turn next. "Aw crikey, what am I supposed to do with a sheila? Well, I suppose she could still be a good treasure-hunting sidekick. I'll give her a shot. Hey Svetlana, wanna share one of your extra Saturdays with me? I'll show you a right good time, I will."
Svetlana took over again. "Svetlana will think about it. But look, she has got my pretty eyes! Oh, but she got Zoey's nose, how unfortunate. Who do you think she looks more like? Us, or Zoey?"
"She looks like nobody but herself, ya ding-dong!" said Chester.
"Hey guys, it's great that you're so enthusiastic about the new baby, well, most of you anyway, and I promise you'll all get plenty of time to play with her later, but for now, could Mike and I have some privacy?"
Chester glared at her, trying to decide if he felt like doing what she asked. Zoey glared back, unwavering. He eventually gave in and let Mike take back the wheel, but not before grumbling something about making such a big deal over a birthing day.
"Thanks Zoey," said Mike, glad to be back in charge.
He took a closer look at his daughter. Her tiny fingers reached up to grab something. He let her take his finger, and she grasped it tightly. Her head was already covered in curls, not bald like most other babies. Her eyelids were only half open, but it seemed like in her twinkling eyes there was a smile, as though the happiest place on earth was here in his arms.
He thought back to that night when he had finally come clean to her about everything. Zoey had been hurt and angry at him, and she had needed to take a long walk to gather her thoughts and calm down. Although she was very upset with him for lying and keeping secrets, and for almost walking out on her, she forgave him. She was just glad Cameron had been able to talk him out of it, but she made him promise to never keep secrets like that from her again.
Holding the baby now, he almost forgot all his reasons for wanting to leave in the first place. How could he ever have even considered forfeiting this? This moment, the all-consuming love in his heart, and the hope that was blossoming where once only doubt and despair had been.
"So, are we going with Ivy?"
"I think I like Noel better. What do you think?"
"I think it's perfect."
Mike took Zoey's hand and held it until she fell asleep, which didn't take long. While she was sleeping, unable to stop himself, he took Noel and began showing her off to all the nurses and patients and anyone else he passed outside.
"Look at my baby girl! Isn't she beautiful? Her name is Noel, because it's only a week till Christmas! I have a Christmas baby! She's my very first, I never thought I could have her, but here she is! She's a miracle! You want to hold her? No wait, I don't know you, I have no idea where you've been. No offence. But look at her little toesies!"
He eventually calmed down a little and went back to Zoey's room. Instead of sitting in a chair, he laid down next to her in the bed, and the three of them slept together in peace.
Author's Note: Yes, I am well aware that the other personalities are gone. I will never recover from that. They might be dead in canon, but this is fanonland, where anything is possible. I'm keeping them alive in my fanfictions, it's the only way I can cope with this tragedy. Long live Chester, Svetlana, Vito, Manitoba Smith, and Mal.