It was quiet in the darkened hospital room, and Frank finally had time to think and react to the last twelve hours. He tightened his shoulders then let them fall, and with that action, released the knot of tension within him. Catherine was safe. For a moment, his concentration wavered and the voice of the hospital broke through: pain/fear/sorrow/ drummed against him from every wall.
He reached instinctively for Catherine's hand, but instead brushed the hair out of her eyes. She had been sleeping for an hour now, with lines on her face that spoke of exhaustion and elation. The baby was awake, though, lying quietly in the crib beside the bed. She waved her hands in front of her face, two pink starfish moving slow and dreamily, as if they were still under water.
"Who are you?" he asked, softly so as not to wake his wife. They'd named her before her birth: Catherine's choice, since Frank had no preference beyond names that weren't nouns or verbs, none of which sat comfortably with 'Black'. Frank, who could see to the centre of people, had no idea who Jordan Black was. He reached out, let five of her fingers curl around one of his, and the hospital fell away around him.
This is primeval instinct, Frank told himself, this is biochemistry in action. Somehow, though, as he stood in a circle of silence, just him and his daughter and his sleeping wife, he let go of what he had been taught about the human brain and the things that drive it. They were a family, the three of them, and nothing else mattered.