It wasn't meant to be like that. It was meant to be nine months of being spoiled rotten and cuddled and fawned over. Not getting sick at 20 weeks, then being told that no, actually, you have to have that baby now or you both might die.
It even had an ugly name. Pre-eclampsia. What the hell was that, really? Why had he thought that that kind of problem would only happen to pregnant women and not to pregnant men? His whole thought had been that it would be trouble free, that Kaze only had problems because he was too small to give birth without help.
Now he was laying, awake but sliced open and half delusional from the numbness and the agonising headaches. After all he tried to say about his abs and his perfect stomach, he'd lost one to getting fat in the first place and the other by getting cut open to have his son dragged out. At 24 weeks old. Probably likely to die.
Zack was there, the doctors didn't want him to be but he was anyway, and he offered up what support he could. But his eyes were dark with worry, and Danny wasn't so far out of it that he couldn't see that. Danny was meant to be fine afterwards; all the effects would wear off after the baby was up and out. But the baby, that tiny little boy...
There was talking from the doctors that snapped him out of it. The glimpse of one holding a tiny thing. The devastated look on Zack's face at the incredibly loud silence. Danny was frozen, he held his breath and prayed and hoped that there would be crying, shrieking, anything. He asked questions that no one answered, felt tears he barely noticed streaming down his face.
Then a tiny cry. A thin, reedy and untrustworthy noise, but a cry all the same. Immediately he lit up, demanding to see him, to know he was okay. But the doctor said no as nurses took the boy to be hooked up to machines. Said it was unlikely he would live; he was too small, too weak, born too early. That Danny could see him after he was sown back up and taken to his room.
And the man had screamed. Screamed and roared and shouted and cursed until his lungs felt raw and Zack had to hold down his shoulders and try to comfort him. But his eyes were black like voids and all Danny could do was look up at them and feel himself drowning until even his tears were gone.
“Why'd you name him Bambi?”
Why'd I name him at all? “'Cause, he's got a little birthmark. Like a deer. So I called him Bambi.” All of them had asked him about the name at least once. Danny had spent the past three days smacked out of his mind with painkillers, and remembered how much Jazz had loved the movie as a kid when he saw the birthmark. So he called his son Bambi. But even thinking about that hurt. He looked over at the incubator that held his tiny child. It took two days of screaming and fussing until they left the boy in his room, but with a constant rotation of nurses and doctors to keep an eye on him. And just like every other time he saw him, his heart swelled then wrenched painfully. He loved that tiny boy, but he'd only been able to hold him twice. The boy had almost died more times then his mother had held him.
He turned his head away, back towards the men that were his lovers. They all tried to keep him confident, keep his spirits up, but it hardly worked. Every time he looked he tried so hard not to love his own son so he wouldn't have to hurt when he died. But there was no stopping it, and every look just made it worse and made it harder.
“I thought I wouldn't fuck up my own kid.” Bitterness flooded him. If his own father hadn't been a mutated strain of his family, this wouldn't have happened. The kid probably would've been healthy, just like Jazz and himself would have been healthy. But it passed as quickly as he clenched his jaw. There was no stopping it; sometimes things just went shit.
Zack sighed quietly. He'd heard the same words the most. “You didn't fuck him up. I did, if anyone.”
Danny went silent, wanting to tell him otherwise but also glad that he could momentarily lay the blame on someone else.
In the silence machines started beeping. A nurse stirred into action. Doctors came in. A baby cried as he was wheeled away. Danny crumpled in on himself and muttered another set of familiar words. “This time, he's gonna die this time.”
Three months had passed. Danny still spent every day in the hospital, watching over Bambi. Expecting him to die. The baby was still sickly and tiny, but sometimes they would at least let him hold him. Every time he had to put him back down it felt like someone tearing out his heart. Danny had loved people before, he loved Zack more then the world. But nothing could compare to his devotion to his child. So much so that he kept up his constant vigil when it was obviously eating away at him as well.
Justin and Zack were in the building, talking to doctors while Danny kept watch. Kaze had to stay home on occasion, to watch over Mitsu who fussed when she had to stay too long at the hospital. They always seemed more optimistic then he did; even when the doctors got pretty sure he wasn't on death row, Danny couldn't relax. Wouldn't relax until he was at least a bit bigger.
“Sorry I fucked this up, kid. You're probably gonna hate me if you remember any of this.” But his son just went on wiggling and kicking around and looking up at him with a little baby smile. His heart melted again.
“You didn't fuck anything up, stop saying that.” Zack said as they walked back into the room, both strangely pleased. “Got some news, Danny-boy.”
He blinked at the nickname. He hadn't heard it in months. “What?”
“You get to take your little fawn home today.” Zack was smiling, his eyes taking on a hesitant glow. Danny looked at him, then back at their son, and started to cry again.