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3:07 am

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"Dr. Urquhart, would you like to do the honors?"

Ethan looked up from the pale, wrinkled face. There were other people in the room?

"Um, yes. Thank you." He was already hovering over the bassinet, he realized, so taking the clamp and scissors from Georos and neatly clipping the umbilical cord was no trouble at all, really. No trouble at all.

"Time of birth 3:07," Georos said, then softenend his voice. "You can hold him, Ethan."

I can hold him.

He had never held a baby before, he thought, as tiny limbs flailed in the air and blue-gray eyes blinked open and shut, scrunching under the lights. He had brought thousands of boys into the world, but never once had he held one as he was holding this one now.

A tiny fist caught him in the chin. He grinned.

A tapping sound, and he looked up, searching the observation window, and there was Cee - Cee, looking as dumbstruck as he felt. You're a father, Ethan mouthed silently, and Cee's hand fell away from the glass. It was like watching a flower bloom in his face.

We're fathers.

Eliah looked up at him and hiccupped, and all was right with the world.