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Sometimes hope is enough

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Michonne sat on the toilet, the palm of her left hand resting on her thigh as she stared down at the semi-clean floor tiles. The sounds of the sink faucet and the shower faucet dripping nonstop were the only sounds filling the room. The consistent sounds seemed to be alternating. First, the sink faucet dripped, then the shower. Then the sink, then the shower, then the sink, then the shower. It was calming and annoying at the same time.

She'd been staring at the floor for so long that her eyes were starting to blur and the white tile was starting to look blue. She had counted just how many tiles there were, though she still didn't know for sure. It was either 58 or 60. She kept getting distracted and losing count.

The bathroom was fairly small, but she certainly wasn't complaining. She loved her home, it kept her safe. These walls were protecting her from constant near-death experiences, constant starvation, and constant battles with other people who all wanted the same thing she did: To survive.

She was thankful for her Alexandrian home, and though she'd been here for at least a year and some months now, not a day went by that she didn't sit and thank whoever was in control of the universe for leading her and her family to such a place.

"It doesn't take that long to pee, Michonne."

The voice was accompanied by the pounding of fists on the bathroom door, causing Michonne to jump out of her trance. She narrowed her eyes at the door as she placed her hand on the counter to steady herself as she stood up.

"Maybe I'm not just peeing, Carl." She called. It was silent for a few moments and she hoped it was because he'd walked away, but as she went to sit down again, she heard his voice yet again. "I don't smell anything."

She cringed and shook her head in disgust.

With a loud sigh, she waddled over to the door and unlocked it, swinging it open and glaring up at the young boy. He crossed his arms over his chest and sent her a smug look. "I didn't hear the toilet flush."

"Get out of my way." She huffed as she bumped him to the side and made her way to the living room.

She loved Carl more than anything. He was like her son, and she'd do anything for him. She loved knowing he was safe and sound inside the gates of Alexandria instead of roaming around outside, risking his life, but damn. He hadn't left her side in at least a week now and she was tired of seeing him. He was driving her crazy!

She took a seat on the couch, in the same position she'd been in before she'd declared that she needed to use the bathroom twenty minutes ago—knowing full well that she didn't—and picked up her book.

She'd read it four times already, but there weren't many other options. It was either this or Carl's comics, and she'd already read each and every one of those at least six times by now. She'd go out and find another book, but obviously she couldn't right now. She'd asked Carl to find her another one, but he refused to leave her side for more than thirty seconds at a time.

She tried her best to focus on the words on the page, but she couldn't. Her eyes drifted sideways as she listened to the sound of Carl settling in the steel chair across from her. He shifted around a few times, removing his gun from it's holster and squeezing it tightly between the palms of his hands, readjusting his hat a few times before sliding down in his seat and crossing one leg over the other lazily. Clearly, that position wasn't comfortable enough for him because not ten seconds later he was sitting up straight again, leaning forward before spreading his legs and resting his elbows on them.

When the movement stopped, Michonne's eyes drifted back to the page she was reading. Three short sentences later, she was distracted again. Carl was checking to make sure his gun was fully loaded for the sixth time in the last hour. 'You haven't shot it, so it's still loaded, Carl.' She'd said the fourth time. He'd only shrugged, rubbing the palm of his hands on his legs before turning to look out of the window for a few seconds.

Michonne cleared her throat and started to slide up on the couch to find a more comfortable position. Carl sprung up, nearly scaring her. "Need help?" He asked. She gave him a long look before silently shaking her head. He sat back down and returned to his previous position, twisting the gun around in his hands as he stared at the ground, but he quickly looked at her again when he noticed his eye had drifted away from her.

Michonne read half of her page before finally, the feeling of Carl staring at her got to her. She threw the book down and looked at him. "I'm not going to disappear if you take your eyes off of me, you know?" She tried to keep her tone of voice soft but it was more sharp and dry than anything. Carl wasn't phased. "I'm just doing my job."

"You're just working my last nerve." She corrected.

He tilted his head and narrowed his eye. "Dad told me not to take my eyes off of you and I'm not...I'm already at a disadvantage because I've only got one eye to work with in the first place. If you think I'm gonna take the one I've got off of you, you're crazy." Carl stated smartly.

"I'm fine. I don't need you to watch me every second of every day, okay? I appreciate it, I really do, but—"

"Are you aware of the fact that you're pregnant?" He cut in. She closed her mouth and stared at him for a moment. Sometimes she wanted to slap the back of his head and send him away for a few days, but she couldn't. Instead, she answered his dumb question. "Am I aware of the fact that I'm suddenly forty pounds bigger with excruciating back pain, swollen feet that I can't see, and what feels like a bowling ball bouncing around on my bladder at all times of the day?" She sent him a fake smile. "Yes."

It felt like there was someone in her stomach kicking field goals nonstop and this kid had the nerve to ask her if she was aware of the fact that she was pregnant?

"Me too." He nodded. "And I'm not leaving your side until you're no longer pregnant, so you might as well get over it—"

"Don't talk to me like that, boy, I will end you." She growled. He held his hands up in defense.

"I'm sorry. What I meant was...I plan to stick around and watch you until you have this baby. I want to make sure you're okay at all times, and the only way I can do that is to be around you at all times."

"That's very sweet of you, Carl, but that's not gonna work." She gritted out. "This baby isn't due for another three months."

"You ever heard of a premature baby?"

Her harsh glare shut him right up and he sighed as he stood up to pace the floor. "I'm just saying, babies can be pretty unpredictable. Even before the world turned into...This...You never know what they're gonna do. You think you're prepared, you think you've got it handled, you think it's gonna be okay, you think they're gonna come later on but...But sometimes later on is now." He preaches, holding his hand up to stop her from talking as he continues on. "When you're having a baby you have to be ready for anything. A lot could go right but a lot could go wrong too. If you're ready for what could go right then that's good. It's easy to be ready for what could go right. But being ready for what could go wrong? That's a hell of a lot harder. I don't...I don't even know if that's possible. You think you are but you're just...Not." He let out a deep sigh as he placed one hand on his hip and tightened his grip on his gun.

"Carl, I get that you're worried. If I'm being honest...I am too. But this is going to turn out okay. Next month I'm going to go to the hilltop and stay there until I have the baby. Dr. Carson will be there and he's gonna have everything he needs to help me have a healthy, happy baby. Until then, all I need to do it stay here and relax. Everything is gonna be fine, nothing is gonna go wrong. Can't go wrong with relaxing, can you?" She tried to lighten the mood but it didn't work. "Even if...Something did go wrong right now, there's nothing we could do—"

"That's not true. I've studied up on this, Michonne. If you needed to have the baby I could help you. Me and Denise have read every childbirth book we have here over and over and over again. I've asked every mother here about their experiences, I've asked every father about theirs too. I—"

"It's sweet that you've done that, Carl. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this, but I don't want you to worry. I promise you this baby is going to be fine. If I've never kept a promise before I swear I'll keep this one. This baby is gonna be fine."

"It's not the baby I'm worried about." He muttered. "Judith, she's fine. She's happy, she's healthy, she's alive. She is. But my mom...She's not."

Michonne could feel her heart breaking as she realized just what he'd been so worried about. She felt stupid for not realizing it sooner. She knew what'd happened to his mother only a few years before, she knew what he'd been forced to do, she knew. Somehow, though, she'd just assumed that he was worried about the baby's health. She thought he was worried that the baby wouldn't be healthy or that she'd have a miscarriage or something. She didn't think that he thought she would die.

"I've lost one mom, Michonne. And somehow...Somehow I got another one. I got another amazing mom that I love so much. I can't...I don't think I can do it again. I can't lose another one, I can't—" He choked up, cutting his own words off as he covered his face with the hand that wasn't holding his gun. Michonne's eyes watered as she watched his shoulders shake as he sobbed into his own hand. She wished she could blame her hormones for the tears, but no, this was all Carl.

She scrambled to get off the couch, not able to move nearly as fast as she wanted to, and made her way over to him quickly.

Although he was a few inches taller than her, now with a bigger frame and a deeper voice and even a little facial hair trying to come in, he looked so small. He looked broken and she hated it.

"Carl, I'm sorry." She mumbled as she wrapped her arms around him. He rested his forehead on her shoulder and she squeezed him tightly, bringing one hand up to stroke his long hair slowly. "You're not going to lose me, Carl. I have a doctor, I have the medicine I need, and I'm too damn stubborn to die a second before I'm good and damn ready to."

"You don't know for sure." He whined.

"I don't." She laughed. "Like you said, a lot could go wrong. But I feel healthy, and I'm not worried about that. What will happen will happen and no amount of worrying will change that. Right now, all we can do is hope that I'll be alright."

"Sometimes hope isn't enough."

"Sometimes it's not enough." She agreed. "Sometimes it is."

He only grunted, somewhat comforted by her words but unwilling to admit it, though she already knew. "I hoped that we'd find a safe place to stay and that happened. I hoped that one day I'd be able to be more than just a body drifting along in the world with no purpose and that happened. I hoped that Rick and I would get together and that happened. I hoped that you'd get off my back and stop following me around all the time and..." She removed her arms and raised a brow as he stood up straight. He shrugged his shoulders. "Like I said, sometimes hope isn't enough." He smirked.

She sighed. "Three out of four ain't bad."

"Do you really, really think you'll be okay?"

"I do." She smiled. "I think this is going to be okay...When I lost Andre—" She sucked in a sharp breath and glanced down. It still hurt to think about him. She missed him. "I felt bad, but I wanted another baby. I wanted to be a mother again. Even during the apocalypse. I wanted to be a mother again...That happened too."

"Yeah." Carl smiled. "Now you're gonna get to be a mother again."

"I got to be a mother again when you and Judy let me into your lives." She corrected him, a soft smile making its way to her face. "Now I'm getting to carry another baby."

Carl looked down and let his foot trace an imaginary line on the floor before he leaned forward to get another hug. He felt like he was acting like a child, but he needed it. Michonne didn't mind one bit.

"Thank you." He mumbled.

"Thank you." She smiled. "Your dad and Judith should be back soon. Why don't we go fix something to eat? Maybe...Lemonade and pickl—"

"You stay in here, have your alone time, I'll go make the food!"