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Michael entered the hospital room quietly, Henry cradled snuggly along one lean forearm, the handle of the infant car seat gripped in his opposite hand. He set the seat down next to the bed. “it’s time,” he told Sara softly.

She shook her head in futile protest, reaching out for Henry. He placed him in her arms, settling down next to her on the edge of the bed. She bent her face to the baby, breathing him in.

“Take a minute,” he said, a hand on her knee.

She sighed into Henry’s soft neck, then situated him in her lap. She smiled down at him, but the emotion didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Cute outfit.”

Michael smiled back at them both. “I thought so.” He’d dressed him in a onesie Sara’s co-workers at the clinic had given them, with blue elephants marching across Henry’s stomach. “Why do we assume babies like circus animals again?”

He felt gratified when this made Sara laugh. “I have no idea. I would think they’d be kind of terrifying, actually.” She touched the edge of the little blue beanie cap on Henry’s head, worrying the hem. Her smile faded. “I should be going with you.”

Michael squeezed her free hand. It was burdened by only two remaining IV lines, which they had been promised would come out soon. “Of course you should be. But you’ll only be a few days behind us.”

“You asked if he could stay?”

It was already Saturday. The maternity ward staff had stretched Henry’s visit as long as could possibly be justified to their insurance company, and then some. “I asked,” he assured her. “At this point, keeping him there would amount to very, very expensive child care, if they’d even let us, which they won’t.” He wrapped his fingers through hers. “I’d far rather take care of him myself. We’ll be fine. I promise.”

She sighed again shakily. “You have the car seat base already in the car? You know you have to hear the click before it’s secure?”

He offered her a pointed but gentle silence, then added softly, “I’m confident I can figure out the car seat.”

She closed her eyes, her lips on Henry’s knit hat. “I know,” she conceded. She hesitated, then added, “But you have enough formula?” She said this a tad bitterly; she hated its necessity.

She already knew the answer; he had the formula, and the bottles and the diapers and absolutely everything else. “All set,” he said simply.

“I want to feed him myself,” she said miserably, pulling Henry more tightly to her.

“I know,” he agreed. Because telling her not to worry, because Henry liked the bottle just fine, wasn’t the right thing to say. Something fiercely maternal had her in its grip, arising from the moment she’d realized she couldn’t breastfeed until the damned drugs were out of her system. He knew it hurt her, physically and emotionally, to withhold this from Henry, and it made Michael feel guilty, enjoying his bottle feeding sessions with his second-born. “Tomorrow, when we come to visit, maybe you can. Or maybe you can have milk ready for me to give him, alright?”

“Alright.” She sounded resigned, which Michael guessed was better than dejected.

He sat with her silently for a while, both of them knowing what had to happen next. He’d wait as long as necessary for her to hand Henry over. He couldn’t fathom a scenario in which he’d ever remove their child from her arms. After a few minutes, she seemed to prepare herself for the inevitable.

“What do you think you’ll do this afternoon?” she asked.

“We need to take Linc to the airport by three, then we’ll just hang out at the house.” He smiled at the thought. “I told Mike it would need to be a chill evening, and he said he wants to introduce Henry to Star Wars.”

She smiled weakly at this. “Maybe order a pizza, so you don’t have to worry about dinner.”

That would be unnecessary. “You haven’t seen the mountain of casseroles in our fridge,” he told her.

“People have brought you food? Let me guess…the classroom mothers.” The idea seemed to both annoy and amuse her.

“People have brought us food,” he clarified. Sara vastly underestimated the number of friends she actually had.

She acknowledged this with a final long, slow sigh. “Alright,” she said firmly, as though bracing for something very unpleasant. “Tell Mike I love him.” She kissed Henry’s cheek and neck and lips, then thrust him at Michael. “Take him.”

He received him, fit him into the car seat, and reached back for Sara, who resolutely stared at the ceiling. He cupped her face with both hands. “I will tell Mike, and we love you, too,” he told her. “We’ll see you tomorrow, and I’ll call you tonight.” He looked at her face. “Okay?”

“Yeah,” she said tightly, but she wasn’t, not at all, and Michael’s chest constricted violently.

“I want you home with us very, very badly, and you will be, very soon.”

She nodded as he kissed her firmly goodbye.

***

Henry started to fuss in the car seat before Michael had made it across the parking lot to the car. He couldn’t blame him; the molded plastic seat looked unforgivably uncomfortable, even with the little padded insert they’d added. It was a far cry from the blissful warmth of the womb, at any rate. He was crying outright by the time the seat was fitted (with the click) into the back seat. “I know, I know,” Michael told him, in a sad attempt to pacify him. “We all want to cry, Henry.”

Before starting the car, he pulled out his phone and texted Heather. Leaving now with the baby. She could probably use a visitor?

The little dots indicating a reply appeared immediately. Would love to. Now, you think?

He thought about this. Sara could probably use a good cry, too. Maybe in a while.

The movement of the car seemed to settle Henry a little bit, but he continued to cry intermittently. Michael kept glancing in the rear-view mirror, until he realized he’d better serve his son with both eyes on the road. It felt like a long drive.

On the way to the airport, Mike sat enthusiastically next to the car seat, doing a better job, Michael felt, at soothing Henry than he had. “He likes that we sit together back here,” he noted, wiggling his fingers above Henry’s face to his brother’s evident fascination.

Lincoln turned around and chuckled. “He’s right. Henry’s completely mesmerized.”

It occurred to Michael that Mike could lean awfully far toward the infant seat. “Are you buckled in your booster, Mike?”

“Uh, I’m buckled,” he hedged. “Only, in the middle, so I can help Henry.”

“You need to be in your booster,” Michael answered, again dividing his attention between the road and the rear-view mirror. They approached a light, and he was forced to leave it to Lincoln to settle the seating arrangements.

“How do people take care of two kids at once?” Michael wondered aloud.

“They start by letting a lot more shit go,” Lincoln muttered to him.

At the airport departure curb, Mike became distracted by the jets overhead and the general chaos of taxis and shuttles. Henry began to cry again at the loss of his personal entertainment system. Michael ignored the sound long enough to embrace Lincoln hard. “Thank you,” he said roughly. “For everything. I don’t think I would have survived this week without you.” This wasn’t hyperbole.

Lincoln hugged him back, one strong hand clasping the back of his neck. “We’ve got to stop thanking each other for these things,” he told him. “Your my brother. No way I was going to let you go through that alone.”

They saw him off, and when Michael got back into the driver’s seat, Henry still cried. It was already obvious that the kid really hated the car seat. “You know what, Mike? Let’s move you.” He got back out and climbed into the back seat, ignoring the car that honked behind him, wanting his spot at the curb. He shifted Mike’s booster to the middle seat, despite knowing it wouldn’t quite fit. He loosened Henry’s plastic base slightly (he could still hear the click), opening up just enough space for him to snake Mike’s seat belt through the booster clip. The whole process was a pain in the ass, but worth it. “There.”

“Really? I can sit in the middle?”

“Yep. You were right. You need to be there for Henry.”

“Like a big brother,” Mike said happily.

Exactly like a big brother,” Michael clarified. “It’s what big brothers do.” He indulged himself one more long look in the mirror to see Mike beaming at him before he eased back into traffic.

***

Sara found herself in the classic Catch 22 she’d witnessed so often in her patients: still too sick to be discharged, but feeling well enough to want to leave…badly. After feeling sorry for herself for a while after Michael and Henry left, she managed to get up to take a shower, then spent another thirty minutes or so back in bed, recovering from this Herculean effort. She attempted to eat an uninspiring dinner of tomato soup and wheat toast, and was about to give into the temptation of mindless TV viewing to get her mind off her family at home without her when she was interrupted by the sound of a knock on her open door.

Heather peeked her head in. “Up for a visitor?”

Sara smiled. “Am I ever. You have perfect timing.”

Heather sidled in, bearing gifts. “Trashy reading,” she said, handing Sara a stack of People and US magazines. “You have plenty to catch up on, after sleeping away most of the week.” She raised her eyebrows, as though daring Sara to challenge this interpretation of events. “For instance, Prince Harry has been in the news again,” she announced, pointing to a headline, “and Jennifer Garner finally signed her divorce papers. She gave Ben way too many chances, if you ask me, but I’ll wait for you to weigh in.”

Sara laughed lightly. Heather knew she didn’t care one bit about these things, which made the gifted magazines even more endearing. It still hurt quite badly to clench her stomach muscles, though. “And what’s that?” she asked, pointing to a bag tucked under Heather’s arm.

“I thought you could use more clothes,” she said, handing them over.

“You think of everything,” Sara marveled. She was so sick of the one tee and pair of leggings she’d packed in her hospital bag ages ago.

“Well, I had an ulterior motive,” she confessed. “If I stopped by your house, I could get a glimpse of your boys, give you an update.”

Sara’s hands stilled in the process of digging out the yoga pants Heather had brought. “And?”

“And they’re doing perfectly fine,” Heather reassured. “I mean, they’d be even better if you were home, of course,” she added hastily, “but Michael had everything under control. Dinner, movie, happy boy, happy baby.”

Sara lay back, smiling slightly again. “I’m not surprised.” She lifted her head. “And he knew you were spying on him, you know.”

“Oh, without a doubt. He was a good sport about it, though.” She chuckled.

Sara said, “I want to thank you, Heather. I was told you were there every day, for Mike.”

Heather gripped her hand. Sara felt ridiculously accomplished, recently down to just one IV line. “Where else would I be?” Heather stated firmly.

Tears pricked behind Sara’s eyes. Between Heather, and of course Michael, and all the meals, and Lincoln, and LJ calling her today with a jokey, ‘Well, you decided to make that interesting…’ It was all just so much…love. More than she felt she deserved, most days. Certainly more than she’d ever expected to have. “Still,” she managed. “I need you to know how much I appreciate you.”

Heather looked faintly embarrassed by the attention. “Well then, consider me appreciated.” She looked pointedly at the stack of magazines now by Sara’s knee. “Unlike Jen. Get reading, girl.”

Sara felt herself begin to laugh again before she remembered to stop herself. Even though she winced, she knew this was just what she needed. The sound brought her favorite nurse into the room; Jeannie probably entered with the intention of shutting down such a raucous visit, but caved at the sight of Sara smiling.

After a few more minutes, Sara’s eyes started feeling heavy, and noticing, Heather stood. “I should go. I need to stop on the way home to pick up Dylan’s school supplies.” She paused. “How ‘bout I just buy double of everything on the list?”

Oh God, that was right…school started on Tuesday. “I won’t say no,” Sara admitted. How could she? “I owe you dinner, Heather. And coffee, and chocolate, and whatever else you want.”

She squeezed her hand once more. “I just want you outta here, so get some rest now, okay? And when you talk to Michael, tell him to send Mike down the street sometime tomorrow to play. I know he’s got it all in-hand, but really, how long can that last, right? No reason to be a hero.”

“Right,” Sara answered with a wave, trying to imagine Michael admitting defeat on Day Two of anything.

***

Michael called her just before 9 pm. “I didn’t wake you?” he asked immediately.

“I dozed for a while, but I wanted to talk to you.”

“But you’re tired now?”

If she could somehow will Michael to stop worrying about her, even just for a moment… “Not as tired as I imagine you are. Everything going okay?” It sounded quiet in the background.

“Everything’s fine. Mike’s in bed, of course. Henry’s right here. He just finished eating, and I thought he might fall asleep but now he’s wide awake.” He paused. “Do you want me to call you back on your cell so we can FaceTime?”

“No,” she said swiftly. Just the idea of seeing Henry without actually being near him made her heart hurt. “Thank you, but, it’s been hard enough as it is.” Shoot. She bit her tongue. She hadn’t wanted to complain, not when she’d done nothing harder than shower all day.

Michael only displayed concern for her, which made her feel worse. “Heather came by, though?”

“Yes, that was nice. Kind of perfect, really.” She smiled into the phone.

“And she gave you a good report?” She could hear the smile in his voice, too. In the background, Henry made a little gurgling noise, and her heart constricted for a second.

“Of course she did. What’s he doing?” she asked. Henry had made another sound, this time a warbley ‘ahhhhh’.

“He hit himself with his own fist, but didn’t seem to mind.” Michael laughed softly. “Now he’s just staring at the pattern the light from the lamp makes on the wall.”

“He’s so calm, isn’t he?” she said. “Just…serene. Mike was not like that. He overloaded so easily on too much stimulation. Sometimes I wondered if he saw things the way you do…you know, low latent inhibition.” Sometimes she still wondered. “God, could he cry.”

Michael paused, and Sara knew it was because he didn’t want to entertain the idea of Mike burdened by LLI the way he had always been.“Don’t worry, Henry can cry…in the backseat, mostly.”

“He’s not a fan of the car?”

“No, and neither am I, now. You would have been proud of Mike today though. In retrospect, maybe I relied too much on a seven-year-old, but why wouldn’t I? He was indispensable.”

Sara smiled at this, and they talked about how Mike was handling his transition to big brotherhood for a few minutes. Then Sara said, “This is weird, isn’t it? Talking on the phone?”

“What? Why?”

“Well, we’ve never really done that. I think I’ve talked to you on a phone three times in my life.” She could tell him exactly when, and cite each conversation nearly verbatim, and it wasn’t hard to take herself directly back to that first time she’d heard his voice on the other end of a phone: the shock of it sending a tremor of adrenaline straight through her, outside her NA meeting, followed, if she was being honest, by an aftershock of fear. Please don’t hang up on me, he’d asked, not knowing that clicking her phone shut had been well outside her power. She’d been a fish on a taut line, yanked from what she’d thought she knew into a stark new world reflected by the glaring sunlight of a Chicago afternoon.

“But we talk now,” Michael said. “All the time.”

It took Sara a minute to come back to him. “No, we don’t. We text.”

“Well, I’ll have to call you more often. How about tomorrow?”

How did he manage to make his voice both honey and whiskey, gravel and glass? He had the power to make her physically ache for him. “I just want to be home,” she said simply.

“Soon,” he told her, all honey this time.

***

On Monday morning, Dr. Coleson pulled a chair up to her bed during his morning rounds and made a show of getting comfortable. Before Sara could ply him with her usual (okay, constant) request, he said, “Let me guess…you want to get out of here.”

“I’m ready,” she told him firmly. She ticked off all her reasons for him on one hand: her surgical incision was healing nicely, she was off all her IVs, her blood pressure was…well, passable, and thanks to the help of a dedicated lactation consultant on staff, she was ready to get Henry off formula.

Dr. Coleson nodded, but added, “You also hemorrhaged within an inch of your life, and spent a full day longer than I felt at all comfortable with in the barb coma.”

This was why she like Dr. Coleson: he was direct and didn’t waste anyone’s time with platitudes. Still, the truth of his words landed heavily. “I’ll recover better at home,” she pressed.

“If I send you home, ‘recover’ needs to be the operative word.” He looked at her sternly. “Full bedrest. No lifting the baby, no standing for any period of time longer than it takes you to use the restroom or shower, no driving or even walking more than a few steps, no strenuous activity at all.”

Sara laid her head back on her pillow with a sigh. She’d accept whatever conditions Coleson threw at her, but this stung. Not only would Michael have to continue to do everything for the kids, but now he’d be taking care of her, too.

“And don’t think I’m not going to run through this list again when your husband gets here. He might want to invest in some duct tape, to keep you in one place.”

“Very funny.” She frowned. “But before he comes, I want to ask you about something? Between us.”

Coleson set the clipboard he’d been consulting down in his lap. “I’m your doctor, Sara. Of course it’s just between us, all joking aside.”

“The hemorrhaging,” she said. “It was the uterine wall, but I couldn’t tell from my chart…did something in labor cause it, or was it already damaged or weak, during pregnancy?”

He nodded in thought. “I’ve already studied your ultrasounds, but since we hadn’t been taking images for that purpose at the time, it’s too hard to tell. But no red flags came up during pregnancy, so my educated guess is that your prolonged labor likely triggered the rupture.” He looked at her with a mixture of concern and care. “But what you’re really asking is, could it happen again.”

She just waited. She needed to know: was Henry her last child?

“The answer is, it doesn’t matter what caused the rupture. The damage is done, opening you up to the likely possibility of another hemorrhage in the future, at any point during a pregnancy or labor.”

“It would be high risk,” she clarified.

“It would be…extreme risk. Foolhardy, even.” Coleson placed a hand gently on her shoulder. “I’m sorry, Sara.”

She absorbed this. “Don’t be sorry,” she said slowly. She had a beautiful family. She knew her two sons were more than enough. More than she ever dreamed she’d be fortunate enough to have. “I just needed to know.”

He looked back down at her chart for a second, seeming to wrestle with something, then nodded, adding, “Because I’m your physician and not his, I’ll tell you that Michael has beaten you to the punch on this discussion.”

Sara exhaled in frustration. Of course he had. She’d have something to say to him about discussing her reproductive aptitude without her present.

“Try not to be too hard on him,” Coleson chided gently. “I got the impression he’s decided to place full responsibility squarely on himself.”

Of course he has. “I’ll set him straight,” she smiled wearily.

Coleson tapped his hand on her chart in his lap, back to business. “For now, I’m prescribing you a birth control option you can use while breastfeeding, and we’ll continue to talk about options in the coming months.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re outta here today, but please try to follow orders. I’ve already put you in my ‘win’ column, and I know you’d hate to mess up my record.” He smiled at her. “Besides, you - and Michael, ipso facto - have sort of become my favorite patients.”

She smiled back at him as he left the room.

***

At home, Sara’s world consisted of her bed, the living room couch, and for an occasional forbidden treat, a seat at the kitchen table. Michael had delivered a very stern lecture to Mike upon her arrival, which had basically consisted of: “Do not grab, pull, jump on, or jostle your mother in any form, do not ask anything of her, do not wake her if she’s sleeping, and do not cause her to get up for any reason. Anything you need, anything at all, you go through me.”

Sara had shaken her head, opened her arms, and said, “Come here, Mike.”

He’d hugged her gingerly, under Michael’s narrowed, watchful gaze, and the pain had been well worth it. She stayed downstairs with Henry while Michael helped Mike get ready for the first day of school the next day, trying to sell the baby on the merits of breast versus bottle. It wasn’t the effortless process she remembered from seven years ago, and she could swear his eyes darted to the side of her regularly, looking for Michael. (She couldn’t decide how this made her feel.)

She tried to follow doctor’s orders, but every time she had to ask Michael to help her with something, the request cost her a stab of frustration. She also worked very hard not to override him or second-guess him as he took care of everything, which shouldn’t have been hard, because he was a natural. But every time he rose wearily out of bed at night, every time he dropped what he was doing to scoop Henry up when he cried, memory of Panama rose up in Sara and flooded her with a need to be there with him, beside him. God damn it, he should not do this alone.

“I’m not alone,” he told her resolutely, over and over. “You’re here,” he said, “and that’s more than enough,” looking at her like he’d rather cover her in bubble wrap and place her on a shelf than permit her to walk to the kitchen for a glass of water.

Still, he was exhausted, and they both knew it. Henry slept about as well as any newborn, which was to say, hardly ever, and especially not when you most wanted him to. Thanks to Michael’s firm belief in attachment parenting, Henry pretty much only slept when snuggled against his chest, tiny fists wrapped in his shirt and legs splayed child-pose-style against his stomach, and while yes, this sight was perhaps the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful thing Sara had ever seen, it also left deep circles under Michael’s eyes.

“Let me take him for a while,” she offered one morning later that week after Mike had gone to school. Henry was in a cheery, wide-awake mood, and Michael had been up since 4 am; he could use a nap.

“He needs a bath,” Michael protested.

“I can do that,” Sara insisted. Michael refused immediately, and she persisted: “I’ll take one with him.” She scrunched her face up playfully into Henry’s. “We’ll use bubbles, make an event of it.” This made Michael smile, so she added in his direction, “And I’ll still be horizontal, just the way you like me.”

He shook his head critically at this weak double-entendre, but relinquished Henry to her. “Call to me if you need anything.”

She watched him lay down on their unmade bed just on the other side of the bathroom door, and then drew the bath water, testing the temperature several times to make sure it wouldn’t be too hot for Henry. She reached for the bubble bath, then thought about delicate baby skin and skipped it in favor of a healthy dose of milder baby bath gel. A minute later, she slipped into the scent of lavender and talcum, Henry against her chest.

The baby relaxed against her, enjoying the water and her warm skin against his, and Sara exhaled slowly. For perhaps the first time since his birth, or at least since she’d first held him, she felt whole and relaxed and herself. She held Henry to her, pouring water lightly over his small back and perfectly adorable baby bottom and chubby legs, and simply reveled in the euphoria of it. And then she reached for the washcloth hanging at the other end of the tub and felt a sharp pull somewhere deep inside her followed by an odd flood of warmth.

Even before she dared to look down at the water, she knew what she’d see.

Blood. And quite a lot of it, ascending from between her legs to fan through the tub in a serpentine pattern that momentarily entranced her, before diluting in the soapy water and turning it a murky crimson. Shit. Fuck.

She lifted Henry up higher against her chest, and debated: get out or stay in? Stay in. She needed to remain still. Her horizontal joke came back to haunt her. Shit, she thought again, because she knew what she had to do next.

“Michael?” she called as calmly as she could. “I need you, and I need you not to freak out.”

***

Michael freaked out. Or at least, somewhere in his mind, hidden behind the very blank and alarming mask that slid instantly over his face at the sight of the water and Sara, he clearly freaked out. She wondered with a shiver what he had looked like in the hospital exam room when she’d hemorrhaged, because this was nothing compared to that, and this look was scaring her.

“Michael? It’s okay, but please take Henry.” Michael breathed hard and fast through his nose, his chest rising and falling rapidly. Was he going to pass out? Because that would be very unhelpful right now. He didn’t; instead, he suddenly lunged toward her in delayed reaction, knees hitting the tile floor like he planned to pull both of them out of the tub.

“Get Henry,” she repeated. “Michael? It’s not as bad as it looks.”

What was he seeing right now? Because he couldn’t seem to focus. Her mention of LLI returned to her mind: was he seeing this blood as though for the first time, as it looked in labor? She finally felt him lift Henry from her arms, but he didn’t move away. “Sara?” he finally gasped, kind of on a wail. Henry started to cry, too, registering the feeling of the cooler air on his wet body.

She tried to ignore them both, taking stock. She felt okay. Not lightheaded, not in pain. It was impossible to tell how much blood she’d lost in the water, but it had just been one clot. It happened, even after uneventful births. She started saying all this aloud to Michael, who just clung to her, his upper body practically in the tub, holding an unhappy, wet, cold Henry with one arm.

“Get him a towel,” she said more harshly than she intended, and he obeyed, burrito-wrapping the baby and laying him on the hard floor to return to her. “Michael! Take him out, get him dressed, and get me the phone.”

He moved as though underwater, but at least he did move, taking care of Henry and dialing the OB-GYN office himself. She heard him speaking rapidly, and sighed. It would be better for her to explain, but there was no stopping him. Surprisingly, in less than thirty seconds, he was addressing Dr. Coleson himself. Maybe she really was his favorite patient.

When Michael returned to her at the tub, he said, “You get to be his first house call in twenty years. Said he didn’t want to put you through an ambulance ride.” He relayed this in a manner that told Sara his own opinion had been overridden. But at least he was talking in coherent sentences.

“No ambulance,” she echoed. When he just stood there, as though awaiting further instruction, she added with a small smile, “I think I’m ready to get out of this blood bath, if you can help me?”

Her attempt at brevity went unappreciated. He went from staring at her to staring at the water, his face still entirely too pale. “Tell me you’re okay,” he whispered.

“I’m okay,” she told him firmly. She held her arms out to him, and he lifted her up slowly, studying every inch of her as she rose from the tub. This sent a wave of self-consciousness over her, and she decided it was a good thing she had space in her head for such things. She’d just had a baby, after all, and had a fresh new scar to get used to. She didn’t appreciate the scrutiny. “I wasn’t stabbed, Michael. You can stop inspecting me.”

He flat-out ignored this request, watching her carefully as she stepped gingerly over the tub wall. When she reached automatically with a foot to unplug the drain, he said, “No. Coleson wants to see it.”

God. Ew. But she understood. “Okay,” she sighed.

The doctor showed up just over 30 minutes later (she bit back another joke about being entitled to a free pizza). Michael stayed in the room for the examination at Coleson’s request, who, several tests and a glance at the tub later, came to the same conclusion Sara had. The bleeding, though alarming, wasn’t cause for re-hospitalization.

“Provided you start taking the bedrest order literally,” Coleson told her sternly, “at least through this week.” He didn’t bother giving Michael a hard look too; Sara knew they were already united allies.

After he left, Sara indulged herself in a few minutes of wallowing at the increased bedrest, but interestingly, found her heart wasn’t in it. The bath incident had actually unsettled her enough to see the merit of staying in bed; she didn’t even mind that Michael insisted on hovering all afternoon, bringing her anything and everything she needed: Henry, lunch in bed, her laptop.

Still, her earlier mantra clung stubbornly. “You shouldn’t have to do it all - “

“I won’t do it all on my own,” he interrupted, and he looked serious…borderline angry. He sat down beside her on the bed. “There isn’t a reality in which I’m willing to do this without you, Sara, so rest. And get better. And do it with me. In that order.”

She reached her free hand out to him, over the top of Henry’s head. “Okay,” she said solemnly, as he clasped it roughly. “It’s a date.” She threaded her fingers through his, locking her eyes on the blue-green irises that she’d just seen mirrored in Henry’s face. Looking directly at Michael Scofield and not blinking first wasn’t an easy feat, but she’d become quite adept at it. She watched him swallow tightly and nod.

“Oh. And if you see Heather at school pick up, tell her I need more magazines.”