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Face drifts in and out of a restless sleep, his head throbbing and his entire body in agony as his heart thunders painfully beneath his breast. Eight long months of confinement so far, and the weight of his hugely swollen stomach and the constant kicking from deep within are making it impossible for him to get any true rest, no matter how hard he tries to find a comfortable position for his abused body.

If he lays on his back, he can’t breathe. If he lays on his side, it hurts his spine and sends stabbing pains through his hips. Lying on his front, his preferred sleeping position before this hell began, ceased to be an option months ago. And however he settles, the thing stretching his stomach beyond all recognition kicks merrily away at his bladder and his prostate and his kidneys, trying her hardest to rearrange his internal organs a little bit more than she already has.

Eight long months, and it can’t be over soon enough. Frankly, if he could cut her from his body right this very second, then he would. But the doctors say everything is fine. The doctors say he only has a few weeks left to go.

Face wonders, somewhat hysterically, if he can possibly hold on that long.

He also can’t help but wonder if Hannibal had ever even thought of asking his permission.

Things could have been so very different. If Hannibal had asked, Face would have done anything and everything for the man he loved. He’d done the seemingly impossible for him before. Admittedly, it would have been quite a leap from procuring a pink jeep in the middle of the desert with an hour’s notice to carrying a squirming baby within his body for nine agonising months, but if Hannibal had asked…

If Hannibal had asked, Face would have said yes.