Caution: this story is not meant to stand alone. The Beyond Happily Ever After stories are vignettes and outtakes showing the O’Kanes in their daily lives, in between the adventures and often after their happy endings. These stories were written exclusively for readers and fans of the series, and will probably not make very much sense to anyone not familiar with the characters.
A Patreon Reward Story. This story is a short vignette voted on by our Patreon supporters. In this story, Flash & Amira spend a little time with newborn baby Hana.
Characters: Flash, Amira & Hana
Timeline: Set after Beyond Pain
The rocking chair was almost too small.
Flash ignored the wooden arms digging into his hips and the spindly sides pushing against his legs. The discomfort wasn’t a problem. The way it creaked when he pushed gently against the floor might be–but one glance at the bed told him Amira was too deeply asleep to be bothered by the sound.
Finally. No one had warned them how much time babies could spend not sleeping.
Hana felt so fragile against his chest. He could cover her whole back with one hand. Her head tucked neatly under his chin, her hair tickling his neck. He hadn’t donned a shirt, even though four weeks of being a father had taught him that drool and barf were probably imminent.
He’d deal with the drool and the barf, if it gave Amira a chance to rest. And nothing soothed Hana’s fussing like resting against his chest, skin-to-skin, right over his heart.
Six had been the one to suggest it, cradling Hana with an ease that had given him hope that even monsters could make good parents. Six was the prickliest, bitchiest girl Flash had ever met. Gestures of affection bounced off her, and her cheerful comfort with violence had marked her as a kindred soul from the first time Flash watched her grind a man’s face into the concrete floor of the cage.
No surprise a cold motherfucker like Bren had fallen for her. She was fifty pounds of danger in a five pound bag, and she seemed like the last person you’d want picking up your baby.
But she understood kids. During that first terrifying week, Six had kept him from losing his mind. She’d grown up surrounded by babies. She got their sounds and their cries and how little it took to soothe them once they were full and clean and warm. “She just wants to feel safe,” Six had told him. “It’s a big scary world out there. Let her know you’re here.”
It was a big scary world out there. Six had always known that, because what passed for family in those farming sectors was some sad, twisted shit. Jas, too, growing up on an illegal farm where he was nothing but free labor. The two of them might understand babies, but they were still learning about family.
Hana would never have to be scared. A dozen uncles would line up to punch the shit out of anything that frightened her. And god forbid anyone pissed off all of her aunts. All the O’Kane men still tiptoed around Lex when she was in a mood. Together, the O’Kanes could build a wall between Hana and the world. She would always be safe.
“Is she hungry?”
He glanced at the bed and found Amira peering at him with sleepy, beautiful brown eyes. “I don’t think so. She settled down now.”
Instead of slipping back into sleep, Amira pushed up on one elbow. “What time is it?”
“Probably about midnight.” Hana made a quiet noise of protest, and Flash resumed rocking the chair back and forth. “You don’t have to stay up. I wanted you to get some sleep.”
“What about you?” Amira smiled. “Besides, she’ll be awake soon, and wanting to eat. Bring her to bed.”
Amira had always been beautiful. But nothing rivaled the sight of her with one of his T-shirts falling off her smooth brown shoulder. Her tousled hair. Her warm smile. The ink at her throat, a silent declaration that she’d chosen him.
It would take a stronger man than Flash to resist that invitation.
He rose and padded to the bed. Hana whimpered in protest as he eased her away from his chest, but settled as soon as she was cradled in her mother’s arms. Flash crawled into bed next to them, stretching out on his side so had one hand free to tease the hair back from Amira’s face. “Both my beautiful girls together.”
“You’re delirious from lack of sleep.”
“Don’t you dare.” The command rumbled out of him as he cupped her cheek. Her skin was soft. All of her was soft. Soft and sweet and his. “Every day, you’re the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Biased, then.” She reached up and twined her fingers with his.
“Nah, just the luckiest man in the world.” He kissed her fingers, then leaned over to kiss the top of Hana’s head. “Still can’t believe I helped make something so perfect.”
“Well, you did.” She pulled him closer. “We did.”
Pride made him want to take credit. But he’d known from the first moment Doc had laid his baby girl in his arms that she was her mother’s daughter. She had Amira’s delicate little nose and silky dark hair, but those were just the things he could see. She’d punched into his chest with her tiny little fists and wrapped chubby fingers around his heart.
Her mama had done the same thing. Amira had been under his skin from the moment she arrived on Dallas’s doorstep, wary and cautious and totally uninterested in handing her life over to a hulking bootlegger who liked smashing people’s skulls together with his bare hands.
Holding back to give her space had physically hurt sometimes. He’d taken beatings less brutal than standing by and watching her go home to some shitty little flat where the locked doors couldn’t always keep out the bad guys. He’d wanted to beat the world around her into submission just to see her smile. He’d wanted her to be safe. He’d wanted her to feel safe.
Every day he’d waited for her to come to him had been agony. And every bit of agony had been worth it.
For both of them.
Flash traced the tiny shell of Hana’s ear with one too-big fingertip. “Everyone’s frantic to babysit. I’m probably gonna have to let her out of my sight eventually, huh?”
Amira laughed softly. “Eventually. But…not yet. This is nice. Just the three of us, in our own little world.”
“Maybe a little domestic peace isn’t so bad.”
As if to counter the words, Hana’s tiny noises shifted from soft protest to irritation. Maybe he was getting the hang of this father thing, too, because he braced himself before the first hungry wail cut through the room, proving that in spite of all the things she’d inherited from her mother, Hana definitely had his lungs.
Amira laughed and shifted into a more comfortable position, and in moments all was right with their baby girl’s world again. Flash savored the moment–most of the problems the O’Kanes faced weren’t so easily solved. But all Hana wanted was to be fed and changed and held and loved. Even a hulking bootlegger who liked smashing people’s skulls together with his bare hands could figure that out.
Flash had never been a leader like Jas. He wasn’t smart at tactics like Mad and Dallas. Clever like Ace. Highly trained like Cruz and Bren. Sneakily brilliant like Lex. He didn’t have Rachel or Nessa’s touch for booze. He’d never been more than a foot soldier in the O’Kane army, following orders, smashing heads and bleeding for his brothers.
But the rest of the bullshit didn’t matter. Because on the day Doc had told them Amira was pregnant, he’d realized what he was here for. Why he’d survived the shithole of Sector Four, why he’d found Dallas and followed him through fifteen different kinds of hell. Why he’d embraced being a monster only to fall in love with a woman who made him feel like a man.
Flash was going to be the best fucking father Sector Four had ever seen.