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nothing so precious

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 When Felicity opens her eyes, it's with a sense of panic, a bone deep fear unlike anything she's ever felt before. She looks around her, tries to sit up, to move, but it's like there's a concrete block over her stomach and her limbs feel like lead. Her eyes meet John's and she tries to say his name but her jaw is as heavy as her arms and all that comes out is a slurred jumble of vowels and consonants that sound nothing like she intended. His hand is warm in hers and he squeezes tightly as he stands from his chair, his other hand going to her forehead, pushing her hair back from her face and gently pushing her back so that she's lying down once more. 

His lips are moving but she can't make out what he's saying at first, her pounding heart rendering all others sounds redundant. Her eyes move from his eyes to his lips and after a moment she can read them and then it's easy to hear what he's saying. "It's ok," he tells her, over and over and over again. "I'm here... you're fine... you're going to be ok..."

He only stops speaking when she nods, tightens her fingers in his. It shows him that she understands what he's saying but there's still that bone deep terror based entirely on what he's not saying. "The..." she begins but her voice gives out. She swallows hard, rubs her tongue along lips that are dry and cracked and she gratefully accepts the sip of water that he holds out to her. She takes one, then another, then pushes the straw away, licks her lips again. "What happened?"

John's whole face darkens, his jaw set tight. "You gave us a real fright," he tells her and even though he keeps his voice light, there's a shadow in his eyes that wasn't there the last time she saw him. "One minute you're laying down the law to Oliver about your computers, the next..." He swallows hard, shudders harder. "You gripped the desk, doubled over... by the time I got to you, you were on the ground, you were bleeding..." 

Felicity remembers none of that, remembers only breakfast that morning, feeling the first dull ache in her back and rolling her eyes at the thought of a day full of Braxton-Hicks contractions. She hadn't told John because it would only worry him, have him hovering around her all day, and if he mentioned it to Oliver, she'd have two of them to contend with. She realises now what a mistake that was and she reaches down with her free hand finds her abdomen, considerably less round than she remembers it being. "The baby?" she whispers, dreading his answer but the smile that comes over his face is like sunshine. 

"Is perfect," he tells her and she closes her eyes, thanks whoever might have been looking out for her, for them. When she opens her eyes, there are tears in his, which makes tears come into hers too. "A little girl..." he tells her, and a sob rips itself from her throat. "Five pounds, two ounces of Smoak female feistiness, God help me..." He leans in, kisses the top of her head. 

"Where is she?" Her two hands makes fists of the material of his shirt and he puts his arms around her, holds her tightly. "I want to see her, John..." She can't stand the thought of her daughter being all alone and maybe John knows what he's thinking because he pulls back just enough to look down at her. 

"She's in the nursery," he tells her, and he sounds almost amused suddenly. "With five foot something of Smoak female feistiness standing guard over her." Felicity's eyes widen and he nods. "Trust me, Grandma Donna's not going anywhere." 

Felicity closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, feels herself relax. "She hears you call her that and you're gonna be glad you're in a hospital," she hears herself say and his chest rumbles beneath her cheek. 

He holds her like that until she sits up, rubs at her face and nods once. He nods too, leans forward and brushes his lips over hers before he stands, reaches behind her and presses the buzzer to summon a nurse. 

It seems to take an age for her to arrive, even longer for her to procure a wheelchair and Felicity's almost ready to order John to just carry her down the damn hall when the thing finally arrives. He insists on pushing her slowly and Felicity grips the arms of the wheelchair to hide her frustration but then he rounds a corner and she sees her mother standing in front of a glass window and another sob  tears itself from her throat. 

Donna spins around at the noise, her hands flying to her lips as her eyes fill with her tears and then she is running towards Felicity, kneeling down in front of her and holding her in her arms.  Felicity holds her just as tightly, cries just as hard and when Donna pulls back, she cups Felicity's face in her hands. "Oh, sweetheart," she says. "You did good."

Felicity laughs and cries in one movement and Donna stands, walks alongside the chair as John pushes her to the door of the nursery. The nurse on duty gives Donna a look, like she's going to refuse her entry and Felicity grins inwardly as Donna draws herself up to her full height, gives her a frosty look that she perfected long ago on Vegas drunks, bad tippers and Felicity's deadbeat dad. The nurse doesn't seem affected by it but she does look at John, then at Felicity who knows she's still crying but she can't help it, and the nurse just smiles and waves the three of them in. 

John wheels her to one of the cots and more tears spring to Felicity's eyes as the nurse reaches inside, lifts up the baby girl all swaddled in pink and ever so carefully places her into Felicity's arms. Her eyes are closed, her lips puckered adorably like she's looking for a kiss, and as Felicity stares down at her in awe, the baby's eyes open, blink lazily at her. 

It's the exact look John gives her first thing in the morning and it's even more special seeing it on her daughter's face.  

"Hey" she hears her own voice whisper. "I'm your mommy... And I've waited so long to meet you..." She's dimly aware of John's hand running over her hair and she turns her head to look at him. "She's perfect," she says and John's smile is brighter, yet somehow softer, than any she's ever seen before. 

"Just like her mom."