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I don’t usually do drabbles, but my idiot best friend landed herself in hospital, and I promised her some bedtime stories, so here we are. I’ll post them as they’re written, and none of them will be long at all.

[Edited to add: By best friend, I mean Clom. I should’ve specified that.]

This one’s rated U. Nothing but a little sweetness.

* * * * *

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Spencer Carlin was having one of those nights when she wondered why in the hell she had decided to go to medical school instead of film school. So, maybe film school would have meant a life of sporadic employment interspersed with stints as a waitress or a bartender or something else transient, but it wouldn’t have meant her head throbbing from the sound of crying babies, when the only place she really wanted to be was home. It wouldn’t have meant one hour of fitful sleep in the on-call room. And it wouldn’t have meant seeing her son’s bath-time via photos, rather than in person.

It wasn’t that she hated her job: she didn’t. She loved her job because what could be better than standing at the bottom of a hospital bed and holding up a new life for the proud parents—or parent—to see? What better gift could you give another person than introducing them to their child?

Only that wasn’t her nightshift. There had been no wonders of childbirth, no new life gratefully received by beaming mother. The morning and swing shifts had seen eleven births, but Spencer’s night had been a fifty-eight-year-old with post menopausal bleeding which was almost definitely ovarian cancer, a rape kit on a kid who’d lied about her name and her age, and the constant whining of an obese nineteen-year-old with gestational diabetes and hypertension. She also had a rat-faced truculent boyfriend of indeterminate age—possibly early thirties—who wanted his ‘old lady’ to have an emergency Caesarian section because he had other places to be. He blamed Spencer for several false starts at labour, all of which had occurred before they’d even arrived at hospital, and for deciding that they’d wait till the morning to section her as originally booked and planned. Spencer suspected from his demeanour and the constantly buzzing phone in his hand that his places to be involved drugs or women who were not yet giving birth to his child, maybe both. The boyfriend’s complaints were interspersed with the mother’s demands to be given pain meds or allowed outside for a cigarette. It was her third child; the other two were in foster care.

Spencer hated to think ill of anyone, but she pitied the little girl who would be born in the morning to these two fine specimens of parenthood. When they weren’t swearing at Spencer or the nursing staff, they were shouting at each other. Security had been called twice.

She was wired and tired and just didn’t want to be there. She watched the clock as she reviewed patient notes with Sylvia Manuel, the lead nurse, updating prescriptions for the morning drugs round and making discharge notes for the Attending who would relieve her. And then the phone in her own pocket buzzed, so she pulled it out, breaking into a smile at seeing a picture of her son at his morning feed.

“James?” Sylvia asked.

Spencer grinned and turned the phone around, showing the picture to her friend and colleague.

“You’ll be home soon.” The other woman patted her hand fondly.

“Yeah. Home.”

“You have an beautiful family.”

“I do, don’t I?”

Sylvia nodded at her. “Anything I can do to help you get out of here faster?”

“Nah, you’re okay.” She checked the clock above the nurses’ station again. “Twenty more minutes. I can do twenty more minutes standing on my head.”

But it wasn’t twenty minutes. It was nearly four hours, because an older mother in very, very late labour was wheeled in, and the baby’s head was already crowning and the husband was complaining about blood and fluid everywhere in their car, although it was just his panic talking because he was obviously so in love with the woman and his almost-born child that it shone from him. And then she had to catch up on the handover she’d missed, and then the post-menopausal bleed wanted to speak to her, and she couldn’t refuse, couldn’t leave it to someone else to pick up for her. And then she needed to cry for a little while, just to break her own tension because she was getting changed and going home. It had been fifteen hours, but she was going home. She made sure to peer through the window at Baby Girl Feingold, who had no name yet because her parents had been so sure it would be another boy that they hadn’t even thought about girls’ names. The little girl was secure in her mother’s arms, her father and three brothers fussing over them both, and sights like that made life a little better.

She trudged out of the hospital on tired, shaky legs, surprised, as ever, to find that it was daylight. Coming off nightshift was like watching a matinee at a movie theatre in that you always expected it to be dark when you came outside, the sunlight a shock to the system after hours of harsh, artificial light. Spencer took a moment to stretch her arms out wide and tip her head back and let the weak, watery winter sun beat down on her.

The drive home was maybe forty minutes longer than it needed to be because of heavy traffic on the 405, but Spencer didn’t care because the end was almost in sight. When she eventually swung her car into her driveway, she wasn’t feeling tired at all. She knew that she would be within minutes of sitting down, but, for now, all she felt was the adrenaline kick of anticipation.

The house was quiet as she opened the front door, no noise coming from anywhere, so she figured her family were upstairs. She kicked off her boots and hung up her coat, and was about to head upstairs and check on the nursery, when she heard a very familiar noise: her wife was snoring. Ashley denied that she ever snored, and maybe it was more a kind of rolling rumble of half-breaths and little murmurs, but it had once been the most adorable sound in the entire world to Spencer. That accolade now belonged to the precious bundle asleep on top of Ashley. There was nothing more soothing to the soul, more uplifting and more irreplaceable in her life than the sound of their son’s laughter.

For a long moment, Spencer just leaned against the doorway, staring in wonder at her family. A dozen years she had been with Ashley, a dozen years and more in love every moment with this incredible woman who had taken her name—‘You’re the doctor and you should keep your name; I’d be proud to take it’—and given her the most precious gift of all: James Arthur Carlin, asleep on his mother’s chest, his features still and peaceful and perfect.

And, God, marriage wasn’t easy, especially not between the two of them because they were oil and water, but it worked. It worked because they adored each other, underneath it all. It worked because she had never once wanted to come home to someone other than Ashley. It worked because of shared memories and the private language of their everyday lives and so much love that she didn’t think anyone else could have ever felt this way. And parenthood was terrifying and scary and a million little ‘what ifs?’ every single day, but it was also her son sleeping against his mother and making Spencer realise that everything in her life came down to these two people, and there was nothing that she couldn’t face as long as they were together.

They were her home.

Jamie blinked, scrunching his face as if about to cry, so Spencer stepped into the room and gently lifted her beautiful boy from her wife’s chest.

“Hello, my handsome little man,” she whispered, inhaling his little-boy scent. “Did you miss me, Jamie? Did you miss your Momma?” She rubbed her cheek against her son’s as she rocked him from side-to-side. Thankfully, he didn’t wake up fully, just gurgled and buried his face in her neck, his fist grabbing the edge of her t-shirt for safety.

“We both did,” Ashley said, rubbing the sleep from her eyes and pushing herself to sit upright and giving Spencer a smile that would forever stop her heart and restart it all at once. “But I think we fell asleep waiting for Momma to come home.”

“Bad night?” Spencer kissed Jamie’s head and marvelled that this was her son, her own baby boy. For all that she had delivered the Feingold’s baby just hours ago, and she would probably be delivering babies every week of her career for the next thirty years, it couldn’t compare to the miracle in her arms. Nothing could ever compare to their beautiful boy with his dark hair and dark, dark eyes because Spencer had wanted a donor with Ashley’s colouring, a baby who was the image of the woman she loved, the woman she’d marry a thousand times over just to show her how much she loved her.

“Yes, no. Not really. He just gets grizzly when you’re on nights and wouldn’t sleep for more than an hour or so at a time.” Ashley rubbed her neck, stiff from falling asleep on the couch, and Spencer couldn’t help but follow the curve of her arm and notice that Ashley wasn’t wearing a bra under her t-shirt. And she was tired, but not that tired, and maybe Ashley wouldn’t mind if they put Jamie down for a bit and—

“I can see what you’re thinking,” Ashley said. “Shame on you, in front of our child.” She looked between Spencer and Jamie, her smile warming Spencer from the inside out. And then Ashley yawned loudly, which caused her to giggle, and maybe Spencer would rate their son’s laughter and her wife’s as joint first on her list of favourite sounds. “Raincheck on that? Maybe for a day when both his mommies aren’t likely to fall asleep before the main event?”

Spencer chuckled and turned Jamie around so that she could look at him as she rocked him. “Someone’s going to see grandma and grandpa this weekend, and Momma won’t be working nightshift.”

“We’ll see,” Ashley said, which usually meant no, but sometimes meant yes, and Spencer didn’t really care either way, because they had their whole lives for everything. Ashley’s brow furrowed in concern. “You’re late. Did you have a bad shift?”

Spencer shrugged. Did it matter, now that she was here and Jamie was in her arms and Ashley was peering up at her with her still-sleepy eyes and so much love? Did anything matter but this feeling and them and their family?

“Why don’t you sit down and I’ll get you some breakfast?” Ashley held out her hand, and Spencer took it gladly, letting herself be pulled down to the couch next to her wife. Ashley’s hand rested over Spencer’s on their son’s warm back.

“Don’t need breakfast,” Spencer said, leaning forward to press a relatively chaste kiss against Ashley’s mouth, loving the way her wife grinned into the contact. “I’ve got everything I need right here.”

11 Comments

  1. KB
    Posted 2 September 2014 at 2.42pm | Permalink

    Well, it’s late at night in my part of the world and I just won the bedtime story lottery with a sweet little dose of Spashley goodness. Real and perfect in its portayal of imperfect lives. All is right with the world. Thanks Dev.

  2. Meech
    Posted 2 September 2014 at 5.19pm | Permalink

    Aww. I wish my best friend wrote me sweet Spashley bedtime stories. Not that I would hope for appendicitis to get one, but it would still be nice lol. You’re a good friend, Dev. This whole thing made me smile :)

  3. Barbara
    Posted 2 September 2014 at 5.34pm | Permalink

    Loved it, was very sweet. Shows been off the air forever, but I still love me some spashley fan fic.

  4. Ash
    Posted 2 September 2014 at 11.16pm | Permalink

    aww I’m sorry about your friend but I’m so so happy you came back to write a spashley story. They will always be my favourite. Best wishes to your friend.

  5. Soniluv
    Posted 3 September 2014 at 3.56am | Permalink

    *fangirls* sigh…. I love your versions of splashley they make me feel warm n fuzzy. Thanks for this wonderful bit of happiness!

  6. Gis
    Posted 3 September 2014 at 5.44am | Permalink

    Wow, what a fabulous surprise! Thank you so much for going back to Spashley, been missing your wonderful stories about the girls. Sorry your friend is in hospital, but very glad she is a Spashley fan!! :-)
    Thanks again and can’t wait for the next one…

  7. Posted 3 September 2014 at 10.43pm | Permalink

    I love it! I’m glad you’re still posting SON fics…This story made my day. Made me all warm inside!

  8. spikkels8
    Posted 4 September 2014 at 10.51am | Permalink

    Sweetest little pick me upper this week. Thanks Dev! I hope Clom feels better soon whatever it is she’s in the hospital for. Feel better wishes from South Africa!! xo

  9. Je t'aime
    Posted 7 December 2014 at 3.15am | Permalink

    Hope Clom is doing alright!

    Thank you for posting a Spashley story. It’s so hard to come by any good recent stories on the girls and believe me I look everywhere. It was an awesome story which was made even better by a SPASHLEY baby! I hope you write more on the girls soon. The fandom is in desperate need of your expertise!

  10. Gis
    Posted 7 December 2014 at 9.29pm | Permalink

    Yes, we definitely miss Spashley stories… :-(

  11. Posted 9 December 2014 at 10.56pm | Permalink

    I agree it is very hard to come across new Spashley stories, and some of the older ones are being taken down. Thank goodness Clom and Dev still have their wonderful stories up.

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