Her mouth dropped open to argue, but she only nodded. It was the smartest thing she’d done all day, except for agreeing to marry him of course. He watched her as the helicopter rose.
She went back towards the house. There were dozens of Sentinels running around now. He knew his family would be safe. His eyes moved to Chris. His color was coming back.
“It’s the blood. It will help heal him quickly. My blood is stopping the bleeding, see.” Eric pointed to a still white bandage on Chris' neck. The bleeding was stopping. He just prayed it was enough. He couldn’t lose Chris.
A loud steady beep went off from one of the machines they had Chris hooked up to.
“Shit, he’s coding!”
Ephraim heard Chris’s heartbeat sputter. “No! Chris, no!”
“Clear!” The medic shocked Chris.
His heart flat lined.
“Dad?” Ephraim looked up from his infant son. Joshua strolled into the nursery and sat down in the other rocking chair.
“What’s up, little man?” he asked, gently rocking the baby in his arms.
“Nothing, I just miss Chris.” He looked around the baby’s room and frowned. “Whose idea was it again to go with a teddy bear theme?”
Ephraim chuckled. “Your mother’s.”
“Figures. Mom’s always been partial to teddy bears. She used to buy me clothes with teddy bears all over them.”
“I’m sure you looked cute.”
“I did,” he agreed, giving Ephraim a grin that would one day make the girls melt at his feet. Ephraim knew that day was coming soon. At eleven the kid was already too damn good looking and charming for his own good.
Jill walked into the room. “Madison is asking for you, Dad.”
It was funny how quickly and eagerly Jill and Joshua came to regard him as their father. Joshua easily made the adjustment to place Madison from sister to mother. Jill hadn't. She was too old for that change and saw Madison as a sister and friend, but still allowed Madison to adopt her. She said it just felt right.
“Do you mind taking little Marc Christopher for me?” He stood up and carefully handed his son over to Jill.
“Of course.” She smiled at the baby. “Hey, baby brother, you are so cute.”
“Of course he is. After all he’s named after me,” Chris said as he walked into the room. He messed up Joshua’s hair on his way to his youngest brother.
“Hey, little man. Did you miss me while I was out on patrol?” Marc gurgled and grinned hugely. “That’s what I thought.” He kissed the baby's head.
“Well?” Ephraim asked.
“Nothing to report. Quiet as a church. How did your patrol go?” Chris asked as he rubbed the ugly pale scar on his neck.
“Fine. Nothing. Are you still sore?”
“Yeah. The muscles are tight.” Chris winced.
“You know I’ve been waiting for you all night,” Joshua complained.
Chris’s lips tugged up into a smile. “I can see that.”
“Let’s go, I only have a half hour before I go to bed.”
Ephraim cleared his throat. “More like you were supposed to be in bed an hour ago. It’s ten.”
“Damn it,” Joshua muttered. Chris hit him upside the head gently. “Watch it, punk.”
“You’re the punk,” Joshua said with a fond smile.
Chris walked with Ephraim across the hall to their new room. Madison insisted before Marc was born that they move their room closer to the rest of the family. He agreed after she twisted his arm, literally.
“So, Dad, I was thinking.”
“Yes?” he asked cautiously. It was always a good idea to be cautious when it came to his seventeen year old son’s "thinking". He swore if he asked for a third tattoo again he was going hang Chris by his ankles in the foyer and leave him there.
“I was thinking instead of taking my own Sentinel home next year I’m going to hang around here for a while and make sure everything’s okay.”
Ephraim hadn’t expected that.
“Chris, I would love for you to stay, but I don’t want to hold you back.”
“You’re not holding me back, Dad. You know as soon as I leave they’ll set up another Sentinel home close by to protect Marc.”
Ephraim sighed. “I know. We thought of moving to start over somewhere else, but this is our home. Madison and your Grandmother want the kids to finish growing up in one home. No more moving around.”
Chris smiled easily. “I’m not complaining, Dad. I don’t want to move out just yet. I would like a few more years with my family before I have to go out on my own.”
Ephraim cupped Chris’s neck. “Are you sure? You know I will never stand in your way.”
“I’m sure, Dad.”
“Okay.” He pulled Chris into a bear hug. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Get some sleep we have a vamp nest in Concord to help clean out tomorrow.”
“Night Dad.” Chris headed back to the nursery where he would most likely stay for the rest of the night. The kid was a natural when it came to kids. Ephraim hoped he wouldn’t have too long of a wait to find his mate.
He turned to head into his room only to pause as spotted the pictures that covered the hallway walls. A sad smile tugged at his lips as he looked at the enlarged photo of him with his two brothers when they were children. His eyes shifted to the next blown up photo of him standing with Marc and his family. Marc looked so happy with one arm around his shoulders and his other cradling his youngest child.
Ephraim chuckled, wondering what Marc would have thought about the hectic day Madison gave birth. Marc would probably be jealous as hell that Ephraim was the one that delivered his son into the world. Not that he had much of a choice since Madison went into labor downstairs while she was watching Chris struggle to re-learn how to walk.
It was the best day of his life seeing his son take his first step again after seven months of surgeries and grueling physical therapy. The doctors hadn’t held out much hope that Chris would ever walk again. Hell, more than half of them didn’t think he’d make it through that first night, but in the end Chris proved them all wrong. He’d never been prouder of Chris as the boy dragged himself across the floor and then forced himself through the pain to walk up the stairs in order to get help for Madison.
He reached up and traced a finger over Madison’s smiling lips in their wedding photo. She looked so happy in his arms. He just hoped he could keep her that way forever.