Daze gasped as the baby was pushed out onto the cold floor of the van. She quickly picked up the baby, and took off her shirt to wrap the baby. “It’s here..” Daze said, shocked at the situation. She stared at the baby, with it’s red cheeks and blood/nastiness all over it. She used the shirt to wipe off it’s face and eyes. The baby begin sobbing, so Daze handed it to Kitty.
She leaned back and heaved a sigh of relief, but she knew that they still had to get the baby medical attention. “Rust! It happened!” she yelled to the front of the van, maybe he could find someone who knew what to do with a newborn. He did have connections, after all. She glanced over at Kitty with the baby and almost smiled. People were right, birth was a beautiful miracle after all.
A warm, sticky, boneless creature was placed in her reaching arms and instinctively she wrapped her arms tight around the little bundle. It all felt surreal, holding the little creature tight and safe in her embrace. She’d heard in crying but now it had stopped, sticky little eyes trying to open and blink up at her. Impossibly small fists tipped with impossibly small fingernails curled and uncurled and tentatively she reached down and placed the top of one finger in its palm. It curled tight around her finger like it knew who she was. She couldn’t help but smile down at the strange little creature.
Her relief was cut short by a strange churning inside of her, almost like it had felt when the baby was still in her belly, and then another sharp pain. She knew it was another contraction and quickly she tucked the baby into the crook of her arm, fearing for its safety. She didn’t even have time to call for Daze before the pain caused her to cry out again as she felt, shockingly, another baby.
“We can’t afford the hospital!” Rust breathed heavily, his head drowning in his own manic thoughts. His hard was pounding hard against his chest, he mumbled to himself. Rust knew he needed to get them to somewhere safe, somewhere with a doctor or something, not the undergrounds, and hospital wasn’t an option. “Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic.” He whispered to himself. Where would he drive to? Somewhere warm, with medical supplies or something. He thought of his father. His father’s house. Medical supplies. It was close, only a few blocks away. He promised himself that he wouldn’t go back, but there was no other option now. Thrusting the keys quickly in the ignition he shouted back, “Daze?! Daze, listen to me okay? Support her, I’ll drive steady, we’re just going round the corner okay? Just tell her to push or something!” He drove fast and steady, luckily the back of the van was empty.
Kitty felt the engine of the van rumble into life but she really couldn’t care less at that moment because she was fairly certain that she was seconds away from having her baby. She’d never known anyone who’d had a baby before, certainly never attended a birth, but the pain level was so high she didn’t have a doubt that it was close. She was vaguely aware that she might be cutting off the circulation to Daze’s hand, but again she couldn’t really care. There was the strangest pressure she’d ever known and her throat was raw from crying out and then all of a sudden it stopped hurting so bad and she knew it was done. She inhaled a huge breath and tried to sit up. “Where is it?” she asked, trying to sit up around the aching muscles and residual pain in her stomach. She wanted to see the baby, wanted to know if it was alive. Maybe she’d killed it after all and it was all her fault.
“I don’t know, Rust. She was lost, there was a fire, she’s pregnant. I think she’s pregnant,” Daze stuttered, as Rust lifted Kitty into his arms. She felt Kitty’s cold hands clutching her, and she gave them a slight squeeze. Barely making out her words, Daze felt that Kitty and her baby’s lives in her hands. “It’s going to be fine, Kitty. Keep your eyes open,” she whispered, salty tears filling her wide eyes.
She had no idea how far along Kitty was, or what was wrong with her. She felt useless to the whole situation, she knew nothing about babies. She had managed to let her own little sister killed, with her luck Kitty’s baby would die. She felt empty again, a failure, a disgrace to the world, to her gang. Cloud had left, she hadn’t seen Lucy in so long. Looking up at Rust, she saw his face looked similar to hers. Would he know what to do? Tales would know what to do, but it had been so long since she’d seen him. She abandoned him, like the stupid girl she was. “We have to do something, what do we do?” she asked shakily, looking at Rust’s ungroomed face. Her fingers shook as she stroked Kitty’s hair, trying to think of a plan. The old Daze would know what to do. But she left long ago, and she hadn’t returned since.
Manic thoughts darting around inside Rust’s head, he thought of Baby and how tiny she was when he first found her. Her little back wasn’t much bigger than his hand and she could hardly wrap her tiny fingers around his thumb. “We have to do something, what do we do?” Rust bit down hard on his bottom lip, he had done so many different things that required courage; committing patricide, raising a little girl in dark tunnels, countless gang fights, watching little orphan girls die, making the Jets and watching them fail.. but in this situation he felt different, the fear was a different type of fear, if he failed, it would be the end of him.
Swallowing hard he directed his gaze to Daze, “Hospital.” He didn’t trust his voice to say anything more, and so he scooped the dark haired girl up into his arms with a grunt before giving the blonde a knowing look and beginning to stumble towards the exit.
“Hey,” He said huskily, looking down at the girl in his arms, “Stay awake, keep your eyes open for me, okay? That’s all you need to do for now, just keep your eyes open and keep awake.” He threw a glance to Daze as he staggered out of the undergrounds and towards his old van, “Open it for me, will you?”
Kitty finally recognised the voice of the person who was touching her. She didn’t know him, but Sky had, and she’d been sitting quietly in the shadows behind Sky in his office once when he’d met with Rust. At the time it had meant the world to her, that Sky had trusted her enough to let her be there. Rust was practically shouting at her now, ordering her, like she imagined he ordered his gang if he still had any left. If everyone else had fallen apart why not the Jets too?
He’d barely placed her on the cold, metal floor of what seemed to be a van when she felt another tight pain rip itself through her. This one felt different though. She screamed and grabbed blindly for Daze’s hand, hanging on for dear life. “Daze! Oh my God I think the baby-!” the sudden pain and realisation of what it meant had cleared her head. It was no longer the pain of something horribly wrong, it was a pain that was telling her that her baby was coming, and soon. She screamed again as she felt a contraction tear through her, panting for breath when it was over. Releasing Daze’s hand for a second she swiped her sweaty hair from her eyes and flopped back onto her back. “D-Daze?” she called in a scared voice, looking at her friend. “Those contractions were only a minute apart…Daze…you’re going to have to deliver her for me…please…I can’t do this on my ow-” her words were cut short by the searing pain of another contraction.
Daze looked down as she felt a small squeeze to her hand. Hope rushed through her and she stood up, picking up Kitty’s small body and running back through the woods, to the familiar park that made her shudder. Her legs ached, but she kept running. She had no idea where to go, so she ran to The Undergrounds, into the Jets’ base. Rust would know exactly what to do. He had a child, he’d help. “It’s okay, Kitty. It’s gonna be okay,” she whispered, sniffling.
Almost running into the door to Rust’s office, she arrived. Banging on the door, she yelled, “Rust! Rust, I need your help, please!”
She felt faint, and sat down on the ground, cradling Kitty in her arms. “Please, please, open your eyes, baby. Please,” she sobbed, playing with the rips in her jeans like she used to. Everything was about to come full circle, she could feel it.
The gang had went to shit. Rust barely knew where half of the members where, pft, he thought, wouldn’t be surprised if they had all ran off to the Casanovas. He frowned deeply, deep lines forming on his forehead. And then he sighed to himself, smacking his lips together. Don’t think like that. He knew it was his own fault that the Jets hadn’t been together. On the late, drunken nights he would mumble to himself, blaming everything he could on the orphan girls, but now they weren’t ‘the orphan girls’ anymore and he had no-one to blame but himself. And so he did.
“Rust! Rust, I need your help, please!”
Her voice was muffled, and so were her knocks on his heavy office door, he had spent so much time trying to remove himself from the world that he had almost forgotten how to put himself back into it. “Huh..” Rust blinked hard, groaning as his fingernails dug into his chair.
There was a sobbing outside. Fatherly instincts immediately took over, and before he could think he was rushing towards the door. Rust could feel his heartbeat pounding in his skin as he pulled open the metal door. The sight stole the breath from his lips.
He sunk to his knees, his voice weak, “Daze, what happened?” Daze cradled the other unresponsive girl. He felt useless, like his arms were too long and his legs were jelly-like and beads of perspiration trickled down his forehead, like he would before a fight. Swallowing hard he pulled the girl off of Daze, attempting to stand with her in his arms.
When a deeper, male voice joined Daze’s Kitty felt a jolt of electricity down her spine. What if it was Sky? Would he be angry that she’d done this to their baby? She still wasn’t sure what his feelings were on the tiny human curled in her stomach, and she knew it wasn’t really her fault that this had happened, but she felt responsible. The helpless thing had been placed in her care, whether she wanted it or not, and now…well, she didn’t know if it was even still alive. She couldn’t feel it.
It took his hands on her body to make her realise it wasn’t Sky, and then as she focused more on his voice it became obvious. Sky’s voice was softer, huskier. She vaguely recognised this voice but it wasn’t familiar, meaning it wasn’t a Casanova.
Slightly alarmed to be in the clutches of a stranger, momentarily forgetting that Daze would never let anyone hurt her, Kitty forced her eyes open a crack, but couldn’t make out much in the dim light. She was distracted as another tight coil of pain wrapped itself around her abdomen, slithering up her spine, and she remembered she had a voice as she cried out, trying to curl into a ball.
She automatically wrapped her fingers tight around the hand in hers and knew from the tiny, strong fingers that it was Daze. She called out for her friend, turning her head to try and find her familiar face. “Daze…please…my baby.” She wasn’t sure if it would make much sense, and she was dimly aware that Daze didn’t know she’d been pregnant, but she was terrified all of a sudden that she was going to die, and this time take the baby with her. She couldn’t handle the guilt of that, in this life or the next.
You’re gone, gone, gone away
I watched you disappear
All that’s left is the ghost of you.
Now we’re torn, torn, torn apart,
There’s nothing we can do
Just let me go we’ll meet again soon
Now wait, wait, wait for me
Please hang around
I’ll see you when I fall asleep
Daze bit her lip as she stared at her phone. One minute, two minutes, three minutes. Beep beep. A text from Kitty. She was in a park, the park where her brother died. Daze went running out of the undergrounds where she had been sleeping in the tunnels, and outside into the darkness. She didn’t want to go back to this park, she didn’t like the memories it brought. But she ran anyways, to find her friend. Her heart was pounding out of her chest, her hands were trambling and she felt like she could fall down and cry at any second. She felt so weak.
The park was empty and quiet, until she heard groans of pain coming from the trees. It was pitch black, she couldn’t find her friend. She kept feeling her way around the woods, the groans had stopped. There was a cradled body on the ground, it was Kitty. Her eyes were closed, and she didn’t look to be breathing. Daze felt as if she had just been punched in the gut. “No, no, no,” she whispered, pulling Kitty towards her. Why did she feel so heavy? Daze glanced down to see her stomach bulging out, like her mother’s was when she went back home. Was Kitty..? No, she couldn’t be. She was too young to have a baby. The shock sunk into Daze’s heart when she tried to wake her up.
“You have to get up! Kitty! Kitty?” she swallowed the brick in her throat as tears streamed down her cheeks. There was too much loss. “People keep leaving, that hurts.” She brought her knees to her chest and sat, hoping that she would wake up.
It wasn’t as bad in the darkness as she thought it would be. She’d been scared, so scared. In that moment before consciousness abandoned her, she’d known she was dying and she’d been more scared than she’d ever been in her life. She didn’t want to die, not now. Now though, it was warm, and soft, like feathers brushing against her skin. It was like floating in a gentle stream and she remembered a similar feeling when she’d been in the lake with Sky, rolling over in the sunwarm water like a mermaid. She’d been happy then and when Sky’s fingers had closed around her ankles, then her waist, tugging her towards him, his skin slick against hers, his kisses hot on her lips, she’d felt nothing but happiness and love.
In the warmth she felt another hand land on her shoulder and opened her eyes. It was dark, but not scary, and when she looked up into the face of her mother she didn’t question how she was there. Kitty smiled. “Mama. I’ve missed you.” It didn’t matter that she’d been 5 when she’d watched her mother die, she’d always been there. It felt so natural now when her mother’s fingers wove into her hair and gently stroked. Kitty closed her eyes again. This was what it should have been like all those years. This is what it would have felt like to have a mother.
“You can’t stay here Katerina.” Her mother’s voice was just like she remembered, smooth and lilting like a lullaby. And no one had ever called her Katerina except her mother and father. The orphanage had thought it sounded too ‘foreign’ and decided Kitty was much more likely to get her adopted.
“I want to. I like it here.” She knew the truth though, and she knew her mother was right. It felt nice, but this wasn’t her place.
“One day baby. It’s not your time yet. You’ve got people to look after, you can’t leave them now.” Somehow Kitty knew who she meant, even without words. She had friends, like Daze and Bones (?), and she had Sky, whatever his crimes, and most of all she had this baby. She could feel it struggling in her stomach, unsure if it were real or not, but the helpless little thing was still there.
Almost as if the thought had conjured her Kitty heard Daze’s voice, and then a sound she was painfully familiar with; Daze sobbing. She cried too much. Kitty felt a twinge of guilt. She couldn’t leave her all alone. She opened her eyes again and looked up into her mother’s grey ones, memorising this moment. Her mother smiled and the darkness around her began to bleed into her, making her disappear. Kitty felt sad, like she was saying goodbye all over again.
“I love you,” she murmured.
“I’ll be waiting for you baby, but take your time.”
And her mother was gone, replaced with pale stars in a black sky and the scratch of grass against her skin. Reality. She felt Daze’s hand in her own and tried to give it a small squeeze, though she felt weak. The pain returned, as did the fear, and for a moment she wished she were back in the warm darkness with her mother. But then Daze spoke.
Somehow she had ended up in a park. She just remembered being dragged from the smoke by Sky and then he had let go of her hand and next second she was on her own in the dark and the cold and something didn’t feel right.
As she dropped her phone onto the grass beside her, having just texted Daze, she felt a sudden surge of pain rip through her. Her hands clutched.automatically at her stomach. She knew what it was and she knew it wasn’t good. She counted in her head, ticking off the weeks. Fourteen weeks. That was how long it had been since…that night. That was too soon for anything like this to be happening which meant something was really really wrong.
She took a deep breath until another pain shot up her spine and her legs gave way till she was sitting on the damp grass. There were tears on her cheeks and they weren’t just from the pain though that was still tugging inside her constantly. What did she do? Daze was coming but she didn’t know where she was or how long she’d be. The next time the pain actually made her scream out and curl up into a little ball. Why was this happening? Was it because she was only fifteen? She knew it was too young to have a baby but she hadn’t actually decided what she was going to do about it. Maybe that was it. She hadn’t wanted it so now she was being punished for it. As she curled up tight and closed her eyes she felt the pain suddenly stop, or rather it got very far away. Maybe she was dying. That thought didn’t scare her. It should have but she felt warm and fuzzy and actually better than she had in a long, long time.
He shook his head reproachfully. To be honest he didn’t really know why she left the orphanage in the first place. There was still so much he didn’t know about her, and he was never going to get to know if she left. Bad situation? Did she intend to convey that he was the bad situation? Even though he’d understand if thats what she meant. Their relationship had been one big roller coasters, from Rookie to Wiz, and even he didn’t know if the ups were worth the downs now. He was so certain back then about Kitty. What changed?
“So this…this it,” he said, with difficulty trying to control his voice. “I don’t know…If it…it will be okay…But okay.” She was the one always there when he got hurt. When he got stabbed by Rookie, she preoccupied him long enough for him to get away, even when he got shot. His eyes focus on her even if it was just a blurred view now, because he knew it would be the last he’d see her. “You know you would be breaking a promise to me, remember the river?”
She paused as she went to turn away, halted by his words. She remembered that day so clearly. She dreamt about it a lot too. It was happiness, because it was before everything had happened, and somehow although almost everything else had been tainted that memory still remained pure. That had been the Sky she’d fallen in love with.
She blinked, trying to push away the tears that threatened to fall at the memory and tried to look back on Sky. If only he knew why she was really leaving. Through her tears she couldn’t quite see his face and she could pretend that it was just like the memory, blurred by water and laughter. She wiped away the tears. There was no point living in fantasy. Some things had to be faced.
“Sky…” she began, unsure how to tell him. How would he react? She was a little scared but she wasn’t sure if she feared violence or kindness, both could be bad in their own way. She swallowed passed the lump in her throat and fixed her eyes on the ground at his feet. “The reason I’m leaving…it’s because….because I’m….pregnant.”