Chapter Twenty-Five

December 3, 2006

General Hospital: Robin’s Room

It was nearly three hours after Robin was out of surgery before her eyelids fluttered and she turned her head to the left. “Patrick?” she murmured.

Anna sat up and leaned forward to grasp her daughter’s hands. “He’s sitting in the nursery, darling.” She smiled when Robin opened her eyes completely and frowned at her mother. “He’s been alternating between your room and sitting with your daughter.”

“Maddy?” Robin whispered. She licked her lips. “She’s all right? It was so early and–”

“She’s fine, love. Absolutely perfect.” Anna sniffled. “She’s in an incubator for just a few weeks to be on the safe side but Steven says she’s healthy.”

“I want–” Robin cleared her throat. “I want to see her.”

“As soon as you can move around.” Anna pressed her lips to Robin’s forehead. “You gave us all a scare. They had to rush you to surgery.”

“What? Why?” Robin coughed and Anna stood to pour her a glass of water. After a long sip, she repeated her questions.

“You were bleeding and the doctors whisked you away so quickly we didn’t know if you would be all right.” Anna took a deep breath and smiled weakly. “But of course you are and now you have a beautiful daughter to show for it.” She patted Robin’s hand. “I’ll go fetch the doctor and see if I can’t drag Patrick away from the nursery.”

General Hospital: Nursery

Patrick handed Maddy back to the on duty nurse and exited, pulling off the protective scrubs. He dumped them in the trash and turned to find Anna waiting for him. “Hey–is Robin awake?”

“She is, and she was asking for you.” Anna peeked through the window and smiled. “I can hardly believe she’s finally here, after all these months.”

“The nurse said that she was going to probably be sleeping the rest of the night,” Patrick said a little regretfully. He flicked his eyes towards the hall that would take him to his wife. “Ah, if you don’t mind–”

“Sure,” Anna waved him on. “I’m sure Robin wants to hear every detail.” She caught his arm as he moved past her. “Patrick, I just want to tell you how very glad I am that you and Robin found each other. You’ve given her a very special gift in Madelyn.”

“We gave her to each other,” Patrick corrected with a tired smile before going to see his wife.

Steven was just exiting Robin’s room when Patrick rounded the corner. He grinned. “Hey, Dad. How’s the new addition doing?”

“She’s incredible. Not doing anymore more than waving her arms and opening her mouth,” Patrick admitted, “but it’s still pretty cool.” He glanced towards the door. “How’s Robin? Is she still awake?”

“She is.” Steven crossed his arms. “A little weak but she’ll feel better in a few days. Barring infection, she’ll make a complete recovery.” He patted Patrick’s shoulder. “If she falls asleep, don’t panic. She’ll be in and out for a few hours but by tomorrow night, that’ll pass.”

“Thanks,” Patrick said. He pushed open the door and sighed in relief when he saw Robin sitting up slightly in bed, smiling at him with tired eyes. “Decided to join the rest of us, huh?”

“Gossip says that you have held our daughter,” Robin replied. “And Steven says I can’t see her until tomorrow, I won’t be able to get into a wheel chair until then.” She grinned as he sat beside her. “And unlike other people in the room, I generally think doctors know what they’re talking about when they say stay in bed.”

“Mm…says the girl who refused to sit out Tony Jones’ memorial service because of a silly life threatening virus.” Patrick took her left hand in his and rubbed his finger over her wedding band. “She’s beautiful. There’s all this hair, I didn’t know babies could be born with so much hair. It’s dark, close to my color I guess. She hasn’t opened her eyes yet but she keeps opening and closing her mouth in this cute little o.” He grinned. “And the nurse says I’m insane but I swear she smiled at me.”

Robin brought her free hand up to trace his dimple. “I hope she has a pair of these.”

“I don’t, my mother always said I got away with murder because I would just smile at her and she couldn’t stay mad at me.” He brought her hand his to his lips and pressed a kiss on her knuckles. “She’s incredible, Robin. I can’t wait for you to see her, to hold her. It’s the most–it’s just the best experience I’ve ever had.”

“I’m so jealous that you’ve seen her,” Robin murmured. “I want to hold her and I want to see her and pretend that she’s smiling at me.”

“You will,” Patrick promised. “I’ve been telling her about you all night, you know. How strong and beautiful you are and how lucky she is to have you for a mother. I’ve been telling her about the things you’ll teach her and how much…” he hesitated. “I’ve been telling her how lucky she is because she’s got a great family and two parents who love each other.”

Robin frowned at him but before she could speak, he continued. “I was standing outside the nursery just thinking about all the times I nearly said it and how much I wanted to say it. I don’t know why I never did because it’s true and it’s been true for months. And I know you know it’s true and I know you feel the same way. I guess…” he licked his lips. “It’s just a big thing to say and once it’s out there, you can’t ever take it back and I guess I was…worried,” he shifted. “Because sometimes it doesn’t last.”

“Patrick–” Robin pressed two fingers to his lips. “You don’t have to say it. I know it.”

“I know you do. But you deserve to hear the words. And don’t you dare say it first,” he warned when he saw her opening her mouth again. “We’ve done this entire thing ass backwards and I’ll be damned if you get to say it first.”

“Well, okay then.” Robin folded her hands primly and waited. When he said nothing, she arched an eyebrow. “I’m waiting over here.”

“I’m not saying it right now,” he told her. “You’re expecting it.”

“And you think I’m perverse.” Robin rolled her eyes and grinned at him. “She’s really here, isn’t she?” She leaned back against the pillows and sighed. “I can’t believe I’m finally a mom.” She looked at him. “And you’re a dad.”

“Which, somehow, terrifies me more now than it did before she was born.” Patrick laced their fingers together. “I told her she’s not dating. Ever.”

“Okay.” Robin patted his arm. “That’s what Uncle Mac tried to tell me and you can see that didn’t work out so well.”

“Hmph…well I guess we have a few years before we have to start worrying about it.” He leaned over to press a kiss to her forehead and then just closed his eyes, staying there for a long moment. “I was so scared, Robin. I was standing in front of the nursery, watching her and I just knew I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own.”

When he pulled back, Robin combed her fingers through his unruly hair and smiled. “Of course you would have. And you would have been incredible at it.” When he looked at her curiously, she arched an eyebrow. “Would you have done to Maddy what Noah did to you when your mother died? Abandoned her, let her deal with growing up on her own? Drowned your sorrows in alcohol?”

He exhaled slowly and felt a little of the weight lift from his shoulders. “No,” Patrick admitted quietly. “No, I would never have done that. But we make a much better team–I could never do it solo.”

“Well, I don’t intend for you to have to.” Robin hesitated. “Was she tested?” she asked softly. “I mean, I know it’s not recommended and she’ll probably only test positive because it’s so soon–”

“Steven didn’t test yet,” Patrick interrupted. “Because he didn’t want to get a false positive. You were on all the protocol, Maddy’s on protocol and they’ll test her when she’s eighteen months old because the antibodies will be gone by then. But Steven’s optimistic. He won’t admit it, but I know he is.”

“I know the odds are in our favor,” she said, “and I was able to keep positive while I was pregnant because I could take the drugs and do all the right things. But now she’s here and it’s out of my hands. I can’t control if she’s HIV-positive now, it’s already decided.”

“I know, but we’re not going to spend the next year and a half worrying about it,” Patrick told her. “We have our daughter and we’re going to have a great time staying up all night, dragging to work the next morning, teaching her to talk and to smile and to raise her head and all that other stuff. If she tests positive, we’ll deal with it then. But we’re not going to dwell on it.”

“No,” Robin promised with a smile. “We’ll concentrate on our miracle.”

General Hospital: NICU

Anna clucked her tongue as she wheeled Robin into the nursery and helped her adjust her protective scrubs. “Patrick wanted to be here when you met her, he’s not going to be happy that you didn’t wait for him.”

“He needed to sleep,” Robin said, “and I’m not waiting anymore. Steven finally gave me clearance.” Patrick had gone home two hours before when he’d passed out in a chair and she couldn’t wake him up by calling his name. She’d ordered him out of the room and Elizabeth had escorted him home with a solemn promise to keep him there until he’d had at least four hours of solid sleep.

But Steven had given her the green light to see Maddy fifteen minutes ago and while Robin felt a teensy guilty about not waiting for her husband, she’d been aching to hold her daughter since she’d woken up that morning.

The on duty nurse gently placed Maddy into her arms and suddenly, everything clicked in place for Robin. She could understand why Patrick was so upbeat and not worried about Maddy contracting HIV. This little girl, this little miracle, was capable of so many wonderful things.

“She’s so beautiful,” Robin said, glancing up at her mother. “Isn’t she perfect?”

“She is, darling.” Anna bent down and kissed her daughter’s head. “Absolutely breathtaking. I’ll be right outside, call when you’re ready to leave.”

“I’ve always wanted to be a mother,” Robin told her daughter. “I’ve dreamed of it for so long but I thought it would always be a dream, I never once thought it could happen. But here you are, in spite of everything. I have to believe that there’s a reason and that God wouldn’t give you to me and then give you the same disease. I have to believe there’s some justice in this world and that’s why I’m choosing to believe that you are safe and healthy.”

“I know your father has already told you so much about your new family so we won’t cover the same old ground — you’ll have the rest of your life to know them anyway. But they are a wonderful group of people and we’re both blessed to have them.”

“If someone had sat me down a year ago and said, Robin, you’ve just met the most incredibly obnoxious and arrogant man but in a year, he’s going to be your husband and he’s going to make your dream of being a wife and a mother come true, I would never have believed them. I could have never pictured the Patrick I knew then being the Patrick he is today. But I’ll tell you a secret–he might like to believe I’ve changed him or taught him things, but the man he is today was always there, hidden beneath the obnoxious exterior.”

“So he’s going to tell you that you’ll never date and that he’ll never let boys within fifty feet of you but I’ll work on him. My uncle Mac used to try that on me, but I fell in love with three wonderful men despite him. There was Stone, my first love and probably the purest. It was uncomplicated and it was sweet and I like to think it would have lasted but I guess we’ll never know. I’ll tell you about him more when you’re older because he was very special to me and he should be remembered.” She hesitated. “Jason kept me breathing, he taught me there was life after tragedy, after devastation and it’s hard to believe that I could be here today without those years with him, so I will always be grateful. And I’m secretly very happy he’s in love with your Aunt Liz, because she deserves some happiness.”

“And then there’s your father, my best love. The best happiness is that which is unexpected and he was definitely a surprise. He crashed into my life and he gave it color again. He gave me my dreams, he gave me laughter and love and he gave me you. So I’ll work on him with the no boys rule because I want you to have a Stone and a Patrick. I want you to have dreams and the drive to make them come true, which something your dad can teach you because he knows how to make something from nothing. He lost his mother and he lost his father for a while, but instead of letting go of his dreams, he worked that much harder to achieve them and now he’s the youngest neurosurgeon in the history of the hospital and the best of course, but if you tell him I said that, I’ll deny it,” Robin teased.

“I’m going to try very hard to be good at being a mother,” Robin promised, “and I promise to always love you, to support you and believe in you.” She leaned down despite the pain and kissed Maddy’s forehead. “Welcome to the world, Madelyn. You were worth the wait.”

There was a coughing from the doorway and Robin looked up and narrowed her eyes. “I better not find out you tied up Elizabeth to make your escape.”

Patrick grinned. “I recruited Jason. He came by with Cameron and distracted her long enough so I could get to the garage. Steven called the house.”

“Hmph, well you’re going right back home to sleep,” Robin told him but he ignored her and knelt in front her chair. “How much did you overhear?”

“I heard you telling our daughter that I was arrogant and obnoxious,” Patrick replied. He cleared his throat. “And telling her that I could teach her make her dreams come true. Thank for you for that, Robin.”

“It’s true,” she said softly. “Because you did it for me.”

“Well, it seemed only fair,” he said, leaning up to kiss her lips. “Because you taught me how to dream in the first place. I love you, Robin.”

Robin grinned — the declaration had been worth the wait as well. She knew it was true, she’d felt it for months and hearing it out loud was wonderful, but now that the words were out there, she realized that she hadn’t needed them after all. Words were nice, but sometimes it was what went unsaid that was more important.

“I love you, too,” she whispered. “I will always love you.”

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