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Many times over, Aaron lets the desperation for a family get to him. The ongoing adoption trials and tribulations do not sit well when he is already prone to reacting in anger.
Will Peter be able to keep him in line with a firm hand to his bare bottom when needed?
In the end, despite the sadness and heartbreak the two experiences on the long road - will they find it worth it all when they finally bring their baby home?
Or - will Aaron's temper cost the couple the child they desperately long for?
Aaron felt like getting out and pushing the damn train himself. So many stops, and people just getting on and getting off, taking their time like there wasn’t an emergency, a husband and a surrogate that was pregnant with their baby waiting for him. He needed to get to the hospital now, right now. He looked skyward to the graffitied ceiling begging the Gods or whoever to help him, them, all of them. “Please, please don’t let this happen again.”!
Katy was a 20 year old college student, not nearly ready for parenthood; she had gladly chosen to give up her baby to two men that wanted to love and care for it. She had not cared that they had been gay, in fact she had wanted to find a gay couple to adopt her baby. Katy had strong feelings about equal rights and wanted to do whatever she could to take a stand on the situation. It seemed so small in the grand scheme of things and how the LGBT fight was going, but she knew to these two men it was the world.
Everything seemed to be moving along just fine until five months in she started having Braxton Hicks contractions.
“Something’s wrong.” she said into the phone when he’d answered it. He could hear the panic in her voice. He immediately handed the phone to Peter. “Honey, call an ambulance,” he told her. “Aaron and I will meet you there.”
She was rushed to the hospital where Aaron and Peter had met her, but they were all assured things were fine and that it was very normal to have false labor pains at this stage.
Are you sure she’s alright to go home?” Aaron asked.
“Of course.” The doctor assured him. They took the doctor at his word and took Katy home. Their peace of mind though didn’t last. The next day Katy’s water broke�
The doctor was young and inexperienced but this time he admitted Katy right away. He explained to them that although he thought he was right about the false labor as Katy wasn't even remotely dilated, that stranger things had happened; a pregnant woman's body could be totally unpredictable.
He thought it was best to see what could be done about prolonging the pregnancy.
“Something must be really wrong Peter,” Aaron said in a panicked whisper.
“We have to trust the doctors.”
“We only seem to have one and he looks like he should still be in junior high.”
“Aaron try not to worry, especially not out loud.”
“Fine.” How could he not worry? If the baby was delivered now there was very
little chance of it surviving. They all knew that.
Aaron and Peter paced outside the in the small waiting room waiting on news of their unborn baby and the young girl they had grown so close with over the past few months. They knew this was a bad situation and were both very anxious. Aaron had decided that waiting rooms in hospitals had to be one of the nine rings of hell. There was no other way to explain the simply awful feelings rushing through him as he waited, helpless with his husband, neither of them able to fix what was going on. They were both fixers and when something could not be fixed by them they did not handle it well.
It was some time later when the young doctor that had treated Katy the night before, came out to talk with them. They weren't sure how long. It had felt like days with their anxiety climbing to new heights every moment they had had to wait for news. They’d had no idea what was going on until now and by the look on the doctor’s face, the news wasn’t good.
“We tried all that we could to stop the labor, but despite our best efforts she continued to dilate at an alarming rate. She,” he faltered, “has given birth.”
“Oh no.” Aaron said, clinging to Peter’s arm for strength.
“Already? She’s already given north to our daughter?”
“You have to believe me, I have never seen anything like this happen before, we did all that we could to stop it. There was nothing�” The doctor told them sadly. He was still new enough to his job that giving bad news to patients took a toll on him and it showed clearly on his face.
Aaron was about to blow. Anger was welling up inside him and he was about to explode and his husband could feel it.
“Is... is the baby alright?” Peter asked putting a hand on Aaron's chest to keep him quiet.
Peter’s looks and gentle touches calmed him as always, though not as much as he was sure Peter would have liked. Enough though that he could let the doctor tell them about the baby.
“She is very, very week. Her lungs are not totally developed and she is very tiny, even by preemie standards.” The doctor explained. He looked like he wanted to run, to be any place but telling these people this news.
“So we could lose her?” Peter asked.
Aaron leaned in close as Peter pulled him into his arms, both of them needing the other’s comfort. He could feel his husband’s heart pounding nearly out of his chest.
“With her initial readings I would say there is a very real chance she will not make it past the night.”
The two men listened in horror to the doctor’s complete honesty. There was no sugar coating this, it was a bad situation and there was no use him giving them false hope but it was an impossible thing to hear, especially when this tragedy may have been averted if they hadn't sent Katy home that first night.
“You are a fucking idiot! You could have prevented this by listening to her last night when she came in, but you sent her away! People like you don't belong practicing medicine you belong working in a morgue where all of your patients end up anyway!” Aaron yanked away from Peter's embrace and yelled at the doctor on the top of his lungs. Peter tried his best to grab Aaron back to him, giving him warning looks and squeezes to his arm but Aaron was not going to be mollified.
“Mr. Bryant things like this, though a pity, happen in the medical field. I diagnosed Katy last night and all was well. What happened over night I cannot account for or take blame for.” The doctor tried to explain.
Aaron could tell the doctor didn’t believe that any more than he himself did. At the very least he was second guessing himself. Was he supposed to just stand here and let this man justify to them or to himself why he’d sent home a pregnant woman in need?
“Aaron he is right, now calm down right this instant.” Peter scolded his partner.
“Fuck that, shit like this just doesn't happen! She was having very real symptoms last night that this asshole was too stupid to recognize. Dr. Kevorkian here should not be allowed near living breathing people!” Aaron ranted. His arms flying all over the place.
“If you do not calm down, Sir, I cannot allow you back to see the mother and baby,” the doctor warned.
Peter gave Aaron's arm a very hard squeeze and the man let out a loud snorting breath through his nose his face red with anger. He knew the threat was a real one and was not one he wanted to take any chances with, but fuck he was so mad at the moment. His heart felt like it would shatter in a million pieces and all that fear and hurt always translated into anger for Aaron Bryant.
“He will be calm, may we please go back and see them?” Peter asked as he pulled Aaron close to him again running a hand soothingly up and down his arm.
The doctor nodded and lead them into the NICU where Katy was sitting in front of a baby incubator with the smallest infant any of them had ever seen, residing inside. The plastic shell seemed so large around her minuscule body. There were so many monitors hooked up to her there seemed like there wasn't an inch of baby that wasn't connected to some wire or another. It was a frightening sight to take in.
Upon seeing them, Katy jumped up from her seat and tossed herself into the safety of Peter's chest, she was sobbing and shaking; her body still not recovered from a traumatic delivery.
Tears filled Aaron’s eyes at the site of them both. Lord only knows what a mess and her mind was in about the sick little baby before her.
Peter wrapped his arms around the girl as Aaron walked over to the plastic bubble that housed his daughter.
“You should be resting in bed.” Peter scolded her as he held her tight to him his protective instincts kicking in overdrive.
“I need to be with her Peter, I can't lie in bed, I just can't.” she sobbed and he nodded, holding her close and taking most of her weight onto himself to support her.
Aaron watched the tiny little creature as she struggled to breathe. Her little chest nearly caving in all the way with the monumental effort at keeping itself alive. So frail and in so much pain. He could tell the baby was hurting, but her lungs were simply too weak to emit more than tiny whimpers, not the healthy wail of an infant in pain. He felt his anger rise as he watched her suffer and then without thinking, he turned and punched the doctor square in the nose.
Both of the doctor’s hands flew to his offended nose as NICU nurses rushed over to help. The doctor was in good hands so Peter gave Katy one last squeeze before sitting her back down in her chair and turning to Aaron.
“You, get out of here right now. I want you to go home; shower and get ready for bed. You better be in bed when I get there. I will clean up this mess but so help me if you don't go straight home...”
�He let the threat trail off and Aaron, being the smart man that he was, hightailed it out of there. His mind was a mess, he hadn't been thinking, he had no idea what had come over him, but he had never felt such rage before in his entire life. His mind simply couldn't process it and his body just reacted. He knew he had gone too far the moment his fist had connected with the doctor’s face, but by then it was already too late to stop it. Was he ever going to learn to think before he acted?
�Aaron had taken a heartbreaking ride home on the subway. He felt alone and miserable and he knew he was in trouble. Worst of all, he knew his baby was going to die. Just watching her for the few minutes he had, he could tell she wasn't long for this earth and it was breaking his heart; he couldn't bear to lose his little girl. He was being sent away and would miss those last precious moments. He was never going to get to see his baby again and it was his own fault. She didn't even have a name.
Aaron fought his emotions the best that he could and he managed to make it home before bursting out in tears. His anger was long spent and all that was left in its place was the pain. The overwhelming, soul crushing pain of losing a child. He let the hot droplets cascade down his cheeks unchecked and felt the tremors start to make their way through his body. He felt so alone and he just wanted his husband, but Peter was mad at him and with good reason and now he was forced into solitude, to deal with these emotions that he hated so much all on his own. Well no, he was alone for now, but he knew Peter would never leave him to wallow in the hurt for any extended amount of time. He would come and he would sooth him, but because of his behavior for now he would have to deal with it alone. At least their daughter had one father with her.
Sitting down at his desk he took out a heavy fountain pen, barely used, and decorative 'From the Desk of Aaron Burg' paper and started to pen a letter. He poured out the poisoning emotions into a letter to a child he had only known a few minutes, but loved with his entire being regardless.
I know you don't have a name, we never got to pick one for you, but if you don't mind I would like to call you Faith.
So, Dear Faith,
I am one of your fathers and while I only knew you on this earth for but a few moments, I realized I have never in my life loved anything as much as I loved you, as much as I will always love you. I did not know, until the moment I laid eyes on you that there could be such strong, almost painful unconditional love. I never thought I had such emotions in me. I cannot even fathom where it comes from, but it was there and it was all for you my sweet girl.
Please forgive me for letting you witness those emotions coming out in anything less than a positive way. I never should have gotten violent with your doctor no matter how much emotion was exploding inside of me. Seeing you there so helpless and in so much pain and knowing there was nothing I could do to fix it, I lost control. I can argue the toughest guys into a jail cell, but I could do nothing to ease your breathing and that hurt me in a way I have never before known. Please know I only felt love for you though. Please do not leave this world thinking that pain is all that it is about because behind my pain was so much love. So much love I could not contain it and did not know how to handle it in any better way. This was my own short coming and I hope, that from you I can learn to be a better person. To show my emotions in a less harmful way. You have taught me a lesson today in your very short time on this planet. One that I will take with me for the rest of my life. Show the love and let the pain and anger take a back seat because when there is so much love, no other emotion should over shadow it.
Rest well my Faith. Daddy loves you.”
A few tears splattered onto the page as he put the pen down, the ink smudged a bit under the salty droplets, but remained legible. Aaron left the letter sitting open on the desk and turned to the steps.
Heading to his room he quickly stripped down to his boxers. He didn't even bother with his suit, he just tossed the worn clothing onto the chair in the corner of the room to be dealt with sometimes when he didn't feel like he had an elephant sitting on his chest making it impossible to breath. He climbed into the lonely bed and wished with all his heart for Peter. He needed to be held even if that would come with a well-earned spanking. It was early, but he knew he was meant to lay there and think about his behavior and how could he not? He could think of nothing, but what had happened that day and how he had reacted and how he likely would never see his baby girl again because of his rash decisions. Heck he could have ruined his career. His only hope was that Peter had managed to talk the doctor out of pressing charges. Still, he would never see his baby girl again and that was a heavy weight on his heart that was making him feel ill.
He lay in bed thinking about that helpless little baby fighting for every breath and that all she had seen of her father was anger and violence, he thought of how angry he had made his husband and how much harder he had made this situation on both Peter and Katy. Neither of them had deserved his behavior or dealing with its aftermath.
He tossed and turned in bed, trying to nap, but knowing sleep wouldn't come. He didn't deserve it to come. He didn't even get out of bed to eat. Peter had sent him to bed and in bed he would stay. He had no desire for food anyway.
By the time twelve rolled around and there was no Peter, Aaron simply assumed the worst. Their baby was gone and Peter was taking care of things like he always did. He wanted Peter so bad he ached.
Aaron wondered how many times a human heart could be broken. This was not the first baby they had lost. He wasn't sure how much more of this he could take. There was a limit to what the human spirit could endure even if Peter and Aaron did have each other to get through these thing with.
Peter sat in the waiting room, longing for Aaron to get there but at the same time wishing he could shield him from the pain of the possibility that they were about to go through the pain of losing a baby yet again. He really didn’t know how much more either of them could take. The last time had ended badly and it still brought tears to his eyes when he remembered having to tell his husband that their baby girl had died.
Peter walked in quietly in case Aaron was asleep, but he knew his husband, he knew the chances the man would have fallen asleep were slim to none. He was probably beating himself up and needing a good snuggle and cry. Aaron would never admit to needing those, but Peter knew the other man always felt better after he had let himself go in the safety of his husband’s arms.
Noticing the lamp on at the desk, Peter walked over to turn it off when he caught sight of Aaron's tight scrawl and tear smudged ink. He couldn't help, but pick up the paper and read it.
The normally stoic detective found himself sliding down into the desk chair, letter clutched to his chest, tears rolling down his face. He loved his husband so much and the emotion he poured out in that letter to their daughter was only one of the reasons. Aaron was a hard nut to crack, but there was so much love inside the man if you would only give him a chance.
He let himself sit there and cry for a good long time. He was sure Aaron had heard him come in, but the man knew better than to get out of bed once he had been sent there for the night. Still he knew he had to go deal with the man so that they could both go to sleep sometime before sun rise. Having read the letter, it gave Peter a better insight to what was going on inside Aaron's mind and would help him to deal with him the best way he could.
Collecting himself, Peter placed the letter back on the desk and headed up the stairs to the bedroom, where he found Aaron laying on his side staring at the door.
Peter had stayed with Katy till late that night, He’d spoken with the doctor and convinced him not to press charges against his husband, which had been a whole song and dance routine of its own. By the time he was ready to leave, his tiny daughter had closed her little eyes for the last time. Her lungs and heart just weren't functioning well enough to keep her itty body alive.
The doctor later told him and Katy that the baby’s heart had an abnormality; that even if she had been brought to term, it most likely would have cost her life. It may very well have been part of the complication that brought on the early delivery.
None of that information had made it any easier to take. Now Peter had the soul crushing responsibility of breaking the news to his husband who was already suffering. He knew Aaron, he knew he filtered fear and hurt into rage and that punch was a culmination of all the hurt going through him at watching their little girl dying before his eyes. He understood it, but that didn't mean he accepted it or would let Aaron get away with it.
Aaron lay in bed waiting. He had heard Peter open the door but he hadn’t come to him. Was he still angry? Was he working up the courage to tell him what he already knew? Finally the door opened.
“She's dead, isn't she?” Aaron asked.
Peter nodded mutely then climbed into the bed next to Aaron and pulled him close, both of them needing the feeling of the other close.
Aaron didn't shed any more tears, but he did cling on to his husband for dear life, feeling the realness of the man, the life in him. Feeling his body move as he breathed and his chest pound with his heartbeat. Things he needed to feel and hear more than anything in the world right at that moment. He let himself soak in the love and the life of the other man, placing his ear over Peter's heart and just listening to it beat.
“Her heart was malformed, Aaron. Even if she had been carried to term she likely would not have survived.” Peter told him as if that were any consolation. Aaron snuggled up to him the way that he needed.
Peter rested a hand on the back of his head.
“Why does this keep happening to us?” Aaron demanded. The hurt cut through his words and Peter held him tighter, closing his own eyes. “I don't know sweetheart, but the perfect baby is out there for us and it will find us when the time is right. We aren't giving up. Now let's get this over with.” Peter ran his fingers through Aaron's hair. “I know the timing mightn’t seem right but then it never will be perfect. I have to do this Aaron, you need it. I can’t have you sliding into a spiral, you need consistency, even more so now. Believe me this is the last thing I feel like doing.”
“Peter, please. I have spent half the day in bed knowing I could not be with our daughter because of what I had done. Please no more.” Aaron begged and it broke Peter's heart. Aaron was already feeling so punished and in the worst possible way.
“I know and it won't be a hard spanking. As it was I had to promise the doctor I would sort you out so that he would not press charges.” Peter told him and Aaron couldn't help but blush. He was pretty sure the doctor could figure out based on context what Peter meant by 'sorting him out.'
Surprisingly Aaron gave up without much of a fight. His heart was broken over losing the few hours he could have had with his daughter and was hating himself for it. He knew a spanking would go a long way to erase some of that. He took a deep breath and nodded at Peter.
On one of the worst days they’d endured Peter had spanked Aaron. It hadn’t been much more than a token punishment really, but Aaron had needed it, more because he was punishing himself.
“That's my good boy, and don't beat yourself up too harshly, she went into cardiac failure just a few minutes after you left and they took her away. You wouldn't have gotten to spend any more time with her had you stayed,” Peter said as he pulled the love of his life over his lap. He hoped that bit of information would ease the pain Aaron was feeling at having been sent away.
“Still I let her see the hate in me. I didn't want her to leave this world having seen that.” Aaron said as he let himself be guided over Peter's lap.
“That is something you still need to learn how to control, love, you don't want our future child to see that in you and I am here to help you reign it in.” Peter said as he peeled the boxers down, leaving a bare target before him.
“Yes Sir,” Aaron said giving a little wiggle as he was bared.
Peter loved the man over his lap with all his heart. They had both been through something together that no parent should ever have to face, this was something he could do to bring them back some of their normality even as much as he hated to do it just then. Lifting his arm up high, he brought his hand down hard right in the middle of Aaron's globes leaving a perfect red hand print behind.
Aaron let out a yelp and then a soft little whimper as the sting settled in.
Peter didn't give him long to feel that one swat as it was soon followed by many more. Peter let his hand bounce hard off his brat's ass as it moved around the spank-able area with practiced ease. Peter was an expert spanker especially of Aaron and he knew all the best, or worst places to smack and it was short order before the man over his lap was wiggling and squirming trying to get away from the fire being built in his bottom.
“Ow, Peter... ow ow, sir, please!” Aaron cried as his top's hand traveled down his sit spots to his thighs.
Peter ignored the piteous please and continued to paint Aaron's bottom a bright red with the palm of his hand. The plump cheeks jiggled under the painful attention and turned the most pleasing shades.
“Why am I having to spank you, Aaron?” Peter asked as he smacked at the plumpest part of his husbands bottom.
“AAAHHAAAA because I lost my temper and punched the doctor.” Aaron cried, tears rolling down his cheeks as he wiggled his bottom to try and ease the sting and stop the swats from falling.
“That not only is NOT the way you handle your anger, but if this incident had been reported you not only could have lost your job, but we could have lost the chance to adopt again.” Peter told him gravely.
“I am so sorry Peter! Please it hurts!” Aaron sobbed.
Peter knew that Aaron wanted the spanking to stop, but he also knew that on a deeper level Aaron knew he had earned each and every one of the swats that was raining down on his aching rear end.
Soon Aaron's protests quieted down replaced by many more tears and quiet sobbing. His body stopped moving and trying to escape each blow and he lay prone and still over Peter's lap, accepting what was being given to him even as his winced with each new fall of the other man's hand. Peter knew his job was almost done. He gave one last pass over Aaron's sit spots making sure to clip the thighs a few times knowing how sensitive that was for the other man, before stopping and resting his hand on the glowing red cheeks. “We have been over this so many times, Aaron. You have got to keep a lid on your temper. The consequences for not doing so can be far more devastating than the spanking you just received.” Peter scolded as he rubbed his hand over the scorched skin beneath it.
“I-I know,” Aaron sniffled “I'm sorry. I'll do better,” he promised for what must have been the thousandth time in their relationship.
Peter smiled fondly. He always meant it to, it was just a really, really hard promise to keep. He truly did know that Aaron meant it at this very moment, but he also knew this would not be the last time the man took a trip over his lap for this particular lesson. It had become less frequent throughout the years, but this was still a subject they had to touch on every so often.
Giving his partners roasted rump a little love pat which actually made the man whimper at the soreness, Peter lifted his lover up and settled him to snuggle in his lap.
Aaron latching on to Peter, hiding his face in the crook of the man's neck. Peter kissed his head and wrapped strong arms around him, offering silent support.
Aaron huffed a little sigh as he snuggled in and fussed a little as he tried to get as much weight off his bottom as he possibly could.
Peter shook his head “I love you my bitter little brat, no matter how awfully you behave in public or how many doctors you punch out.” He told him.
Aaron let a small smile settle on his lips. “I love you too and I’m glad I always have you,” he said. “Even though things hurt right now, it’s a comfort. I know we’ll get through this. We’re going to be okay.”
“Yes we are.”
“No matter how many times you take that concrete hand of yours to my poor defenseless bottom.” Aaron quipped back emerging from his hiding spot to lean up and kiss Peter on the lips.
Peter sighed. Neither of them sought to deepen the kiss, they just let their lips touch and connect them for a few moments before pulling back from each other nor was it enough.
Aaron ran into the emergency room looking far less kept than he usually did. His hair fell over his face, his deep brown eyes were wide and frightened and his cloths were rumpled. He spotted Peter in one of the hard molded plastic chairs and made a beeline for him. He didn't care who was watching, he was scared and there was only one person he needed at a moment like this.
Peter stood up and held his arms out for his husband and quickly wrapped him up in them. He pulled him in close to his chest and just held him tightly. “I’m so glad you’re here. It feels good to have you in my arms.”
“What's going on?” Aaron demanded from where his face was hiding in the crook of Peter's neck. It always managed to find its way there when he was snuggling with the man, as if their bodies where just made to fit together like that. A human puzzle each of them completing the other.
“Hanna came down with a severe case of preeclampsia. She isn't in good shape and they are worried for both her and the baby. They don't know yet, but they may have to do an emergency C section.” Peter said as gently as is possible to explain such news. He tightened his arms around Aaron.
“But she is only seven and a half months along.” Aaron whimpered from his hiding spot, both hands coming up to clutch at Peter's shirt grabbing bits of fabric in his fists.
“I know, but the risks might just be too great to keep the baby in there any longer. They could be risking both Hanna's and the baby's life if they cannot get her blood pressure to go down,” Peter reasoned with his distraught husband.
“What if something happens to the baby?” Aaron asked, his heart already breaking at the very thought. He just couldn't bear it, it made his insides quiver in a way that made him almost unable to stand. If Peter had not been holding him so tightly he might have just fallen to his knees.
“There is so much that can be done for a preemie these day's Aaron and the doctor really thinks the baby will be just fine. It is early, but it isn't that early. The baby could survive well on its own outside the womb. It isn't ideal, but babies much less farther along have made it,” Peter assured, leading Aaron to sit down in one of the chairs next to him, his head still on his shoulder; both of them needing the closeness at the moment.
“What about last time?” Aaron asked, his eyes wide and frightened and portraying every feeling that was going through his mind at the moment. Peter co