DISCLAIMER: Hospital Central and its characters are the property of Telecino. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Series 9 & 11.
Maca drops down onto the hard, plastic seat. Her back complains at the discomfort but she blocks out the sensation, just as she had everything since Vilches' emotionless declaration of death. It was an attempt at self preservation; his tone, her retreat, two symptoms of their shared remorse. Another dead patient. Another dead child.
Tears scratch the back of Maca's eyes but she refuses to let them fall. It wasn't the appearance of weakness that she fought, but the real sense of losing herself in despair. With Jaime she'd allowed herself to wallow in self doubt and recriminations and almost lost Esther as a result. She'd learnt since then. Learnt to let go of the pain, or at least hide it better, where no one else could see and judge.
She would not cry for little Maria, but a tiny part of her heart would forever weep for the life the young girl had been denied. For all her training and passion, she just hadn't been strong enough to wrestle Maria's life away from God's hungry clutches, and the worse part was, that in a week or a month or a year, there'd be another Maria or Jaime, each begging for her help and signalling her failure.
A false smile greets Esther's arrival, but it is soon consumed by the tiniest glint of genuine affection that rapidly transforms into welcome. The darkness does not recede but, suddenly, there is comfort in her pain and Maca reaches out with blind need to take Esther into her arms. It is only then that a tear escapes its confinement and is absorbed by her lover's skin; the pain leeching away to be slowly replaced by hope.
Esther lays a hand on Maca's belly, the ripe evidence of their future fits snugly against her palm, the life within suddenly fragile. It is a moment of fear and thankfulness. Joy and terror. The fate of their child measured against the fates of those gone before. Esther shivers and, in that moment, Maca is free from her pain. Her smile is reassuring as her hand rests gently atop Esther's, their fingers entwined and cradling their child.
"We will keep him safe."
Maca's declaration holds only truth. God may have won the battle for Maria but she'd call on the devil himself to keep their son from harm. Their boy would grow and live the life that had been denied to so many; his joys and triumphs the only apology she could make to those other lost souls.
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