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Labor

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"This is ridiculous, Michonne," Maggie squinted at her best friend from the driver's seat. "I'm calling him."

"No," Michonne protested on a huff. She took a moment, breathing in deep, holding her breath until the sensation passed. "Not yet."

"Holy shit," Maggie banged her hands against the steering wheel. "You're in labor!"

"Don't cuss around the baby," Michonne said, exhaling shakily. "And the contractions are 7 minutes apart. We have time."

"Rick is going to kill me," Maggie argued. "He said to call-"

"And we will," Michonne assured her, taking a moment to put on her seatbelt. "Just not yet." She relaxed into the cushions of the passenger seat, staring at the brunette woman expectantly. "Well, we should probably go."

"This is insane," Maggie reiterated. She looked wildly into the backseat. "Baby, can you please talk some sense into her?"

"Glenn," Michonne turned as well, "Can you please explain why we can't call right now?"

Glenn's dark eyes widened, caught in the crosshairs. The young man stammered, leaning backwards from the expectant faces of the arguing friends.

"Well," he began, "It's the Playoffs, babe," he directed this at Maggie, his voice unnaturally high. "If Rick pitches well, they'll head to the World Series-"

"Who gives a fuck about the World Series right now?" Maggie screeched, exasperated.

"Language," Michonne chided.

"But Michonne," Glenn wasn't finished, turning instead to the soon-to-be-mother, "Rick would want to know. If you don't tell him, he's going to get pissed."

"He won't be mad," Michonne soothed, running her hand over her protruding baby bump.

"Not at you," Glenn scoffed. "He'll kill me."

"We're wasting time arguing," Michonne gestured to the steering wheel. "We should be driving."

"Well, you can't drive in labor," Maggie pointed out. "And I'm not moving this car until you call your damn husband."

The gauntlet thrown, a standoff grew heavy inside the confined space of the SUV. Glenn groaned from the backseat.

"Compromise," he announced, leaning between the two women. "We drive to the hospital," he looked at his wife.

"But-" Maggie began to protest.

"-And we call Rick the moment we get through the doors," Glenn finished, looking towards Michonne.

The ladies exchanged eye contact.

"Fine," they both clipped out, placated for the moment.

"Fine," Glenn settled back in, satisfied that he'd kept the peace.

Maggie started the car, steering out of the driveway. The radio droned on in the background. Michonne leaned hastily forward, rotating the dial expertly until she located the station broadcasting the game. The sounds of the announcer filled the car.

"And it's Grimes, back on the mound. The Dodgers' pitcher has had a fantastic game so far folks, only letting three Giants on base. It all comes down to these last few innings though."

A second voice joined in, agreeing.

"Some critics have accused Grimes of being distracted lately. The All Star is about to add another role to his busy schedule. His wife is pregnant, I hear. Due any day now."

"Well, let's hope she can hold that baby in until after the game. The Dodgers' World Series chances might depend on it."

"See?" Michonne said, sucking in another breath as the contraction rolled through her.

"Oh, fuck baseball," Maggie muttered, steering carefully towards the hospital.

Glenn gasped dramatically. "Better not let Rick hear you say that."

"Good thing he's not here then," Maggie fired back, grinning despite her irritation.

The rest of the ride went without incident, the announcers dutifully delivering the play by play through the radio. Rick managed to finish the inning without letting in another run. By the time 8th began, Glenn was shuttling Michonne through the door while Maggie parked.

"Phone," he shoved his cell into her palm. "Now."

His tone left no room for argument, but Michonne attempted it anyway.

"It's just two more innings…" she began.

"And he's going to miss them." Glenn said firmly. "Call. Your. Husband."

Michonne called the Dodgers' front office instead, relaying the message. She'd scarcely hung up when she was shuttled away, sat forcefully in a wheelchair and rushed to a delivery room. The contractions came closer together suddenly. Glenn and Maggie sat anxiously at her side, watching as Michonne breathed through the pain.

In the background, the tv played the end of the game. A different announcer called the plays.

"I don't know what's gotten into Grimes, but he looks like he's trying to set a speed record out here. That's the third ball this inning to break over 103mph. You gotta wonder how much his arm can take."

"He's going to hurt himself," Michonne huffed, shaking her head.

"Maybe he got some news that has him rushing," the second announcer speculated.

"He better be," Maggie muttered. Glenn rubbed her back, wincing as Michonne crushed his hand in her own as another wave hit her.

They heard Rick before they saw him, or rather, heard the commotion down in the lobby.

"Shit, did he take a jet here?" Glenn marveled. On the screen, the post game celebrations were still going, the delighted Dodgers partying their way into the World Series.

Crowds were gathering in the hall, cheering, whistling, hooting. Irritated, a nurse rushed outside, shushing them all. She returned with Rick, red-faced, sweating, and still in uniform.

"Baby," he rushed to Michonne's side. "You were supposed to call."

"I did," she grinned despite her discomfort, leaning up to kiss him.

Glenn and Maggie quickly shifted to the side, relegated to the waiting room as Rick took his place at his wife's side. They settled down for the long haul, selecting chairs near the door. They could hear the low rumble of Rick fussing over Michonne through the wall.

"You owe me $10," Glenn poked his wife, grinning. "I totally called it."

"He's not out yet," Maggie protested.

"Still, he's not going to be born during the World Series," Glenn crowed. "You lost, babe."

Scowling, Maggie fished in her purse, smacking the ten-dollar-bill into her husband's hand. "How'd you know she'd pop before Playoffs ended?" she questioned.

Glenn looked towards the door. They could see Rick and Michonne through the small glass window, their foreheads pressed together.

"Have you seen her watch him play?" Glenn asked. "No way was she not going to induce labor."

With a laugh, he settled in, watching the post-game show on the lobby television. Maggie leaned her head against his shoulder.

"When I go into labor," she patted her belly, the first curves of a bump still invisible to the naked eye. "I'm calling you right away."

Glenn kissed her. "Fair enough, baby."