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Old 01-26-2011, 07:40 PM   #1
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An Cat Dubh 32

"Desire Lines" by Deerhunter fueled any of the happy bits in this chapter. Good lord, what a beautiful song.

More baby description coming later And middle names.

Getting contraceptives by mail, explanation: they're hard to come by in Ireland before about 1980. Sometimes they had to be snuck in. Just a little too late, Cath...

You may notice there's a bit of a divide in this chapter; the first half is darker, the second is not. It'll make more sense.

***

Everything began to filter into images, behind the shock of the white sterility of the hospital. Cath fell into a sort of blue-black darkness that whirled very fast: she was staring at Bono, who tried to tell her something, and she walked away from the little boy Paul Hewson down a narrow street, broken glass reflecting sky…

She shook her head: no, she was imagining things. She felt she was pillowed against something warm, and swallowed. “Paul?” Cath asked, throat dry. A contraction punched through her like a fist, leaving a little dark hole of ongoing pain…

Paul pushed her hair away from her face and kissed her forehead, looking concerned. “You’ll be fine, love. You quieted down for a little. Is something wrong?”

“It hurts, Paul. It fecking bloody hurts so much…”

She staggered upright from the plastic chair, blinking and seeing the rest of the band near her. Edge gave her a smile. She groaned and staggered to a sitting position again, wrapping her arms around her knees sharply. She felt like retching, and punching through a wall at the same time, and curling into a ball to die. The shiny tile floor of the waiting room wavered in front of her eyes and she shut them, pulled powerfully back into a wave of dizziness and clutching the edges of the chair until she could see again. Cath shuddered.

Edge was staring at her. She didn’t dare look at him, knowing what he was wondering. Paul had gone up to talk to the nurse about hurrying this up; he couldn’t stand her pain. It made the edges of his skin resonate with a blinding pain of their own, just thinking of it. And he had that sickening fear, at the back of his mind, that something would go terribly wrong. But he feared for Cath only, that this would hurt her badly.

“Come on! Please tell me you have a room open…”

Cath hardly noticed when she was moved, yelling at the nurses instead of the band—mostly.

“Fecking baby! Godammit…Paul fecking Hewson! I can’t believe men don’t have to go through labor—ahh—“

She staggered again, seeing the boy Paul in her mind’s eye. He stood before a door he looked afraid to open. His eyes were terribly clear in her mind—but she had never seen him as a child…

Well, the kid will probably look like him.

Cath felt a sudden wave of fear with the pain. Yes, they were contractions, but underneath them, a dull ache was building. She closed her eyes and tried to drift into painlessness as best she could. It was far from coming: the hospital around her was blinding, and she saw a doctor in front of her, saying something from the other end of the tunnel of her vision. He gestured in between her open legs. She yelled at him.

Edge walked over to the anxious Bono with a grin on his face. “She kicked the male doctor out. Said if he had the balls to watch this, he could be useful and wait with the other men.”

Bono pressed a hand to his head. He looked pale, his face drawn, as if he would throw up. His eyes were burning bright.

“God, you’re worried. Bon, just go in there!”

He clutched the edge of the seat and strode into the room. He was not prepared to see Cath’s face in a rictus of pain and exhaustion, and…he clutched at the edge of the door, feeling even more sick with worry. He just looked at her face, and held her hand, and let her tighten her fingers around his until he thought their bones would grow together, a tight fear stabbing through him all the while, the sharp relief coming when the doctor said it wouldn’t be long.

He held her other hand in his, as if he were holding her, his fingers gentle, and wiped the tears from her eyes. “Cath, there is no way I can go through this. It’s you, love. I’m sorry. If it wasn’t bloody Ireland and we didn't have to get contraceptives by mail, we could have gone without having a baby, but I’m glad we did what we did, love. Stop crying, Cath.”

He stumbled out about half an hour later. If Edge had thought he looked sick before, he must have been mistaken. He looked fine—scared shitless, but fine, though his eyes burned holes through his face.

“Go back, man,” Edge practically yelled. “She needs you!”

“I can’t,” Bono shook his head. “I won’t be able to—I can’t—“

Edge marched past him, muttering to himself. The sight hit him hard, and perhaps with more significance. He looked past, and sat near Cath, letting her fingers clench around his arm.

Edge,” she screamed, and then said more quietly, the world reflecting in her eyes. Edge had a sudden sinking feeling. He sat down hard, remembering the scrap of paper in his hands, the way Cath had looked out to the water just days ago. The look in her eyes…

“Cath,” Edge whispered frantically, “I’d better be wrong.

“You’re fine, Cath, aren’t you?” He pressed his hands to the side of her face. She stared up at him, sweat shining across her face, her eyes driven. She gave a hard push when the nurse told her to, and Edge watched stunned the slow progress the baby made.

“Edge, get him back in here,” Cath whispered. “Edge, I need—“

The nurse was saying something that Cath’s words drowned out. She left the room and then returned:

“Cathlin, we need you to try a little harder. There’s nothing wrong. Just push again…”

Cath frowned intently at the nurse swimming before her vision, then grabbed Edge’s hand again. “Edge, get him…

She had a pain-wrought period of stillness, where all progress in the labor stopped, through no fault of her own. The contractions had ceased. She lay, wearied but still keyed up, a frustrated sweaty mess glaring intently at her stomach as if to will this to get over with. Edge smoothed her hair away from her face and got Bono, who walked in very pale and came and buried his face against Cath’s chest, wrapping his arms around her tightly. He was unable to speak what had been going through his mind for the past few hours, but finally looked up with faint tears and told Cath it wasn’t any fault of her own; the baby could wait a few hours if necessary.

And what burned through her brightly was his hand connecting fiercely with her own, their fingers kissing against each other. He told her, in that still moment, that he loved her. She closed her eyes, overcome.


The pain came back, tearing through her with sharp iron fingers. Paul’s presence became muted. His hand holding hers sucked away some of the pain, but soon she was shaking and screaming at this tearing of her body. It spanned over several spun-out hours. She remembered little disjointed pockets of moments, surges of extreme clarity when the pain had been sharpest, or the relief from it:

Bono spoke to her in the cadence of a song, rubbing his thumb over her fingers soothingly, the hope and fear on his face pulling through her so that he was left with nothing but calm for both of them. He spoke endlessly, until she thought he might tire of just using his voice—but no, he was a singer; that was what he was meant to do—

“Cath, we don’t have to be a band on tour; we can stay in Ireland, or move somewhere else while taking care of the baby…we can live by the ocean and I can stay with you and write songs…”

Or perhaps Edge spoke. She fell into a sort of waking sleep, sleeping wakefulness; the spaces between contractions were little blinks of time she had no memory of but for his voice, and everything changed between. She became aware of a sharper, deeper pain and closed her eyes, gripping the bed convulsively, her head hot and tight.

There was momentary relief paralleled with a sort of weakness, and then Cath could see around her again. It fell quiet, though the doctor tried to speak to her about something. She shook her head, closed her eyes. When she opened them again she told Bono to get some rest, pulling him down so that his face was level with hers and kissing him on the forehead tiredly.

Edge came and brought his guitar; she heard a little of the music, though the lyrics wavered in and out of her hearing. It sounded like she had heard it before, half in passing…but different with his tense fingers. He had to stop himself from leaving the room a few times, focusing on the strength of his own body and willing it to be the same with hers. His attention faded to a warm, close circle of thought, and he reached out in the music.


Morning saw Paul with his face pressed against one of orange plastic chairs in the waiting room. He had escaped when everything Cath was going through was just too much; he felt it too keenly. Edge came over and tapped him on the shoulder, a little lifeline into the waking world. Paul blinked awake, heart in his mouth.

“How is she?” he asked.

Edge shook his head. He looked white-faced as Paul had been; Edge had spent the last few hours with Cath and the dizzying rush of different doctors and nurses. The smell of blood still pierced through his nose like an afterthought, and the heat of Cath’s forehead as she had pressed her head against him desperately as if she could gain some respite from the waves of pain.

Bono stared up at him.

“The baby’s about halfway from being born yet. Bon, there’s a lot of blood.” Edge sat down next to Paul and buried his face in his hands, pulling his head away to stare forward with an expression that pleaded at the world. The room rushed and pulled at them calmly and solidly as the ocean.

When Paul came back in, Cath stared at him unfocused. Someone had cleaned the blood from around her lower body. He stayed where he was and stared at the little patch of skin showing through that was not hers. Cath gritted her teeth and breathed out. She had passed through the first weariness into a greater one, and looked more exhausted to Paul than he had ever seen anyone in his life, but with a purpose about her. She held his hand loosely when he came over to her, with surprising strength in those thin arms of hers. Her entire body shone with a film of sweat, and she was breathing hard.

He tried to bring her focus away from the pain; she stared up at him again, clutching at him like a lifeline. And when she opened her mouth silently, the look on her face unendurable, he held her more tightly than he would have dared; her ribs, her collarbone, the hard bones of her arms dug into him. She gritted her teeth again, tears sliding down her face, and pounded her fists against his back.

“Bon…Paul! I…”

He couldn’t stand it anymore; in some way they had grown into one organism, and her pain was terrifying. He gripped her head sharply and kissed her as hard and grippingly as he could, and—Cath’s eyes widened—the pain fell away into a deep stillness and silence and the feeling of his mouth against hers. He broke away, rubbing at the sharp fire her nails had scratched onto his arms, and looked where she stared, his mouth falling open in shock. There came a high thin gripping sound that thrilled through him. Cath trembled. He brought his arms around her; she leaned against him in exhaustion, another little lifeline running from her eyes into this other life. She couldn’t stop the tears falling warmly down her face, and shook in Paul’s arms, looking up again entranced.

Something had halted and grown in Bono’s face. A knowledge had fallen away and been created. Someone had thrown from him anything but the bare essence of what was Paul Hewson—and—he’d never thought of himself being part of another person—

The nurse said the usual congratulations; they slipped past Cath’s awareness. Paul moved away from her, loosening his hand from hers, and held this red-faced screaming thing small as his two fists.

“That would be normal lung development,” one of the doctors commented, “good lungs for being born so early.”

The baby waved a fist, moved his limbs confusedly, and stared unfocused at this huge, blurry man, who was shocked out of his life. Cath cried again, seeing Paul’s face. Any fear, any unconscious defense around himself, anything that transformed the man she knew had fallen away, leaving him oddly vulnerable, burning through Cath in recognition.

“Cath,” he said very softly under the loud bursts of cries his tiny son made, and gazing enamored down at him. “Who is this little fellow?”

Ciarán is ainm a,” she smiled. He walked over to her very carefully and set the squalling baby in her arms; Ciarán lay against her skin and quieted, gazing up at her in turn. Bono sat next to her, the world washing away from him and fixed unwavering in the two people he loved. A sweeping euphoria filled Cath and chased away any lingering exhaustion that stayed persistently.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:20 PM   #2
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What, the nurse didn't have Paul hold her leg? Good job. That is a little bit what it is like when you are in labor for several hours. She should have begged for drugs. They would have been good back then.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:28 PM   #3
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Why would he have to hold her leg?

For some reason I haven't been wanting to call him Bono...seems you've picked up on it ^^

Yeah...it was definitely not fun for Cath. She wants to smack him one. And there's a reason she didn't get painkillers, actually. More on that in later chapters.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraceRyan View Post
What, the nurse didn't have Paul hold her leg? Good job. That is a little bit what it is like when you are in labor for several hours. She should have begged for drugs. They would have been good back then.


Ok, once again, I had to catch up.

Isaac is dead. Should I be happy about that? Cause I am. But I want to know who killed him.

Will Bono and Edge have a falling because he kissed Cath?

And wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! BABY! I totally do not want to have kids! This sounds scary! lol!

Great chapters, lady! I can't believe you're thirty chapters in! It's gone by so fast!
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:40 PM   #5
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You! You're done It's good you read it at this point; things are a-changing after this chapter.

I'm happy that Isaac is dead. Did you not pay attention before? Cath's brother Oisin hit him hard enough that he died.

Has Bono punched Edge yet? is the real question. Because that is what he would do straight off.

Ugh, labor pain. Painful to even think about. I have not gone through it but just from writing it, ...no. I may accept it *if* it comes with that spinal block thing. Someday veeery far from now ^^ and yes, baby! :3 He's going to be such a distraction. (Adam agrees)

Thanks! *tips hat* There aren't many chapters after this one, though, I warn. Probably less than 40 overall, although 40 would be a wonderful way to leave off. I like that song...
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:34 PM   #6
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Ow...
AW!
*reads next chapter*
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:10 PM   #7
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Hahaha, you're verbose today... but good summary!
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:39 PM   #8
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Verbose? Blue not know big words. Actually I was just brain-fried (which happens more often than it should!)
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Old 01-28-2011, 05:40 PM   #9
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Verbose=talkative. Wow I feel smart

Yeah...that happens to me too...oddly enough it tends to be late at night when I write best, though I can't speak or do anything normally...
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:05 PM   #10
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I knew that, just joking
Mm... hm...
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:12 PM   #11
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I'm very perceptive, as you can see *goes off and hides in a corner*
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