Rowena Callaghan featuring Wayne MalloryRating:
A direct response to clez
's fic Until My Lungs Give Out
, I normally loathe doing these because I never feel they turn out as I had hoped >.> We shall see with this one; I don't think it's too terrible, though like the original, is one sort of ends abruptly. Title and summary are from Mermaid Blues
by Tom McRae
, Rowena's theme.Summary: 'It's calling me, and dragging me...'Surface Tear
It had been her father who had first told her she was too stubborn for her own good and that one day she would pay the price. Rowena Callaghan had always waved the statement away with an amused smile. Yes, she was a stubborn woman when she felt the need to be, when she felt that whatever it was she was standing up for to be important, when it was right. So when she had heard the panicked voice of a woman, a werewolf in the throes of labour over a phone line, begging for the pack to help her how could she turn her back on that? When it came down to it the midwife had one speciality, one area in which she truly felt useful and when presented with an opportunity to do some good because of it, after everything that had gone so horribly wrong in her past when it came to the not so simple task of supernatural midwifery there was no way she could just stay behind and wait for the pregnant wolf to be brought back. Two lives were at stake, new and old.
Rowena had made her case solidly and before she knew it she found herself in the passenger seat of a pack vehicle with Wayne Mallory and another pair of fighters, hurtling through the night, streaks of phosphorescence across the glass. Hastily, the red headed she-wolf tied her hair up as the car reached its destination under the expert guidance of the male sitting beside her in the driver's seat. Wayne killed the engine and glanced across at Rowena, they shared a silent, grim moment of determination before copying the fighters seated behind them and disembarking.
Through the choked, agonised sobs of the labouring wolf on the phone the location had come through garbled and unspecific, and to cover it they split into groups of two. Later she would never be able to recall if given the chance how it was that she was the first to find the woman, but call it instinct, or fate she was the first to lay eyes on the woman.
Blood streaked her clothes, her hands, hanging by her sides loosely were drenched in it and she rocked simply from side to side, standing up, crying and shuddering as she gazed out into the water below. Rowena's eyes picked out the tiny bundle on the waves, dipping and bobbing and sinking slowly and realisation washed over her suddenly, driving her to tears almost immediately as she approached the rogue. The back of her eyeballs burned against them as she tried to pull herself together and react intelligently, not emotionally; it was always so hard to separate the two.
"I... she w-wasn't... I didn't kn-know... wh-what to do..." the mother was looking out at the little bundle, her bare, bloodied toes seeking out the edge of the ground tentatively.
"I know, I know," was all the midwife could muster, "let me help you, you're bleeding a lot and you need medical care," she began to move gingerly forward, towards the she-wolf with her arms extended, open palmed and non-threatening.
The rogue shook her head, swaying, "I sh-should have... I didn't..."
Rowena laid a hand on the rogue's jacket having gotten close enough to reach out, her voice low and concerned but completely unprepared for what happened next. The she-wolf's blood coated hands grabbed back, there was a confusing blur of motion and then they were both falling. Footsteps, racing to catch up with her from behind were the only thing she could really hear, and she knew it was Wayne but too late. She heard his voice momentarily and then the water rushed up towards her and engulfed her body hungrily, before she could even call the fighter's name or voice her shock and protestation in any way at all.
Cold pushed the air right out of her lungs, it didn't even feel wet at first, just freezing against her exposed skin, rushing over her scalp, through her thick, russet hair and up her nose into her sinuses. The desire to cough and gasp was overwhelming for a minute but she resisted, holding her breath and tilting her face to the surface, the direction she needed to swim.
Rowena kicked, but the other she-wolf was holding her and she was sinking and taking the redhead with her, clawing at her with weak desperation and fear, too tired after the birth to swim and she was dragging the midwife down into the cold depths of the river with her.No...
She wasn't going to die like this. She wasn't going to just drown
, it was so meaningless, so simple and plain and life was so close she could feel it, the surface.... it was right there. Surprisingly strong arms caught her in midriff in a resolute, finalistic grip and dragged her down deeper and the surface slipped out of her reach, if it had even ever been in
Under the pressure of the water her lungs burned, her limbs were numb from the freezing water and her body was desperate for oxygen. Everything was getting very heavy and her frantic struggling grew less ardent, her eyelids drooped, seeing nothing but silt and dirty, murky images that flashed through her mind and it occurred to her that this was the end, she couldn't hold her breath much longer. She couldn't feel her arms or her legs, there was just nothingness all around her, heavy and imposing, pressing in on her from all sides, all angles. The swelling in her chest was compelling her to breathe, even though her mind knew that if she did...
For a few moments she writhed in the water, unable to swim, just suspended like a sick marionette, her hair now loose from it's pony tail and floating around her freely. Waiting.
At last she couldn't fight it any more and her mouth opened, sucking in a breath of water in a silent gasp, the liquid was like freezing liquid fire in her lungs and the heavy feeling didn't dissipate at all as her body had wanted it to. Black fog crept up the back of her neck, over her scalp and down into her vision. Down, down as the water carried her.
Her lungs burned and she tried to swim but there was no air left, there was no anything anymore.