Rating: M15+ (see warnings)
Warnings: Past Mpreg, Miscarriage and grief (esp. denial), mentions of medical procedures
Disclaimer: Not mine, as nice as it would be
Prompt: For this prompt: "Alex was pregnant with Hank's child when he suffers a miscarriage. A fic about how he deals and how the others react."
Summary: Alex has thought it through rationally, and really, it's better this way.
A/N: Miscarriage is not something I have personal experience with, but I would like to emphasize that if it is a sensitive subject for you, this may not be ideal reading. While it is not at all graphic, Alex has some challenging coping strategies which may initially seem callous or dismissive. I definitely do not wish to cause distress.
"I was thinking, it was probably all for the best, you know?" Alex said, nervously twisting his bedsheets between his fingers. He knew he was speaking quietly, but it was hard not to. His bedroom felt like a library. Or a hospital.
Or a morgue.
Hank placed a warm, reassuring hand over Alex's own, before very gently pulling the bed sheet away from him to expose the white gauze taped over his middle. Alex looked out the window while he continued.
"I mean, I'm a guy. My body just wasn't meant for this sort of thing. And you always said that there was a very high risk of... You know." Alex paused, hoping that Hank would respond, fill in the missing word, anything, but Hank remained steadfastly silent. He tried speaking a little louder. "Of miscarrying. If it was going to happen, it's probably better that it happened when it did. You know, earlier rather than later reduces the risk of complications. Right Hank?"
"Has there been any pain?" Hank asked quietly. Alex shook his head.
Hank pulled away the gauze pad, gently palpating the skin on either side of the red line of Alex's surgery scar. The stitches were perfectly parallel. Of course they were, Hank had sewn them.
"We couldn't exactly have provided a safe and stable family environment, either. We have two whole countries trying to kill us, and a rogue group of mutants who seem pretty set on doing the same thing." Alex pressed his lips together. He'd been playing these words over and over in his head for two days now, but they were proving much harder to say out loud, especially since Hank was being completely unhelpful. Didn't he understand what Alex was trying to do? "So really, it's better for everyone that what happened, happened. Don't you think?"
Hank seemed to study Alex's face for several moments, then proceeded to retrieve a new piece of gauze.
"How about nausea? Or light-headedness?"
Alex shook his head.
"I'm just trying to explain that..." Alex blinked several times to disperse the traitorous dampness. He wasn't going to get weepy again. He was done with that, especially in front of Hank. He needed to be strong now, if not his own sake then for Hank's. "I'm just saying that it's not unexpected, and there's no point making a whole drama out of it. It's gone, and it's over, and it's time to move on, and..."
"Charles said you didn't take much of the chicken broth earlier." Hank interrupted. "He hoped there wasn't a problem with Sean's cooking?" Hank's lip tilted very slightly upwards, a hopeful almost-smile that didn't reach his eyes.
"The soup was fine, I just wasn't hungry."
Hank's almost-smile faded, and his shoulders dropped infinitesimally.
"Okay, but you will need to take in some nourishment soon. Your body has been through a very traumatic experience, and you..."
"I know what happened Hank!" Alex snapped back, "That's what I'm trying to tell you. It's okay. I'm okay. So everyone can stop walking on eggshells around me. This is what was meant to happen. Everyone is better off this way. It's all fine."
Hank furrowed his brow, and for a brief, horrible moment Alex thought that he might have made Hank cry. But a few seconds later Hank turned away to rearrange something on his little tray of medical supplies.
"Would you like some water? Or I could bring you some juice? Charles got some of that tropical stuff that's more cordial than fruit. You normally like that."
Alex let his head fall back to thunk on the pile of pillows that surrounded him. He felt so tired, and all the things he'd been rehearsing in his head, all those rational, logical reassurances that he'd come up with for his rational, logical Hank, they weren't working the way as he'd expected.
"Hank, are you even listening to me?" he huffed.
Hank looked down at him, all softened features and wide eyes.
"Of course I'm listening to you, Alex. I will always listen to you, no matter what."
"Then why won't you just tell me what you think?" he pressed.
Hank stood assessing him for a few seconds, then removed his gloves and sat gingerly on the edge of the bed. Alex cautiously shifted himself to the side to allow Hank more room.
"Well?" Alex asked again. Hank looked down to his own hands, cradled in his lap.
"You really want to know what I think?" Hank asked, voice so quiet it was barely audible. Alex nodded, his breathing low and shallow in case Hank's response was to soft too hear any other way.
"I think..." Hank began, then took a deep, steadying breath. "I think that she would have been beautiful, Alex. I think she would have been more beautiful than the most beautiful thing I could ever imagine, and I would have cherished her utterly. I would have cherished both of you."
Alex's lungs stopped working.
"She?" he barely breathed out, "a girl? Are you sure?"
Hank hesitated for a moment, then nodded very slowly, eyes glazing slightly as he lapsed into his science-filled safe place. "I'm sure. The genitalia on a human foetus can start to develop from as early as nine or ten weeks, even though it's not usually possible to..."
"Hank, please... Just..." Alex interrupted, breath catching. He hadn't rehearsed this. He hadn't practiced it. He hadn't even anticipated...
Hank's eyes cleared.
"Charles thought that we should give her a name. He said that if it we agreed, he would arrange for her to be buried in the grounds. I told him I'd have to see how you felt about it."
"A girl." Repeated Alex, his hand absentmindedly drifting down to his empty belly, then jerking it away as if burned.
"We don't have to decide right away. I probably shouldn't have... It's too soon, I'm sorry, you're not ready yet." Hank stammered out. He went to stand but Alex reached across to catch his elbow.
"Hank, wait... Please, just... Tell me that what happened was for the best"
Hank brushed the errant piece of hair out of Alex's eyes, and very gently touched their foreheads together so that their noses brushed.
And he didn't say a thing.