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Mac at least lived long enough to find out that Caroline was pregnant.

"That is just," he said, with his tired eyes brighter than she'd ever seen them, "that is just so fucking great!" He kissed her lingeringly and she curled up next to him in the hospital bed. "I love you," he said, stroking her hair and the back of her neck. "Caro."

She snuggled into him, her fingers wrapped into the fabric of his scrubs. "This isn't exactly what I planned."

"I know, sweetheart." He sighed. "It's not what I planned either."

"I suppose we can always hope for a miracle?" she tried to say, but it came out as a question and her lip quivered.

"Hey now, Mrs. Mac," he said. "Chin up." He put one gentle finger under her jaw and tipped her face so that she was looking at him. "There's always hope."

"But there isn't really, is there?" she mumbled, tearing up.

"Not really," he said, with that twisted smile she loved. "You knew that's how it would be, Caroline. And we have had a good couple of months. That's more than we expected."

"I know," she whispered into his shoulder, "but you always have to think things might change."

"Mmm," he said, and stroked her hair. For a long time they were quiet as she tried to pretend she wasn't crying, and he pretended he couldn't feel her tears soaking his scrubs. The nurses went by without a word, having resolved to leave the newlyweds as much to themselves as possible.

"I don't want you to not marry Guy just because he isn't me," he said later. "He loves you. He'll be good to you."


"You don't have to do it right away," he added. "God, I hope you don't do it right away. I just don't want you to be lonely all your life."

"Let's not talk about this now," she said. "You're still here."

"All right," he said, kissing her forehead. "What will we name the sprog, then? Nothing remotely related to..."

"I know," she interrupted him, "you hate your name."

"Delilah? Ephraim? Nigel? Hyacinth?"

"Be serious!" She slapped his chest gently.

"Guenther?" He caught her hand as she would have smacked him again and kissed her palm. "All right. This is me being serious. What do you think of...Callum for a boy? It was my granddad's name."

"Callum," she said thoughtfully, rolling the name around in her mouth, and if he hadn't loved her before, he would have fallen for her then. "Callum McCartney. I like it." She looked up at him. "If it's a girl, can we call her Isabelle? I always wanted to be called Isabelle when I was a little girl."

"Isabelle it is," he said, pulling her closer. "And you can give her the train set. I packed it away in that box that's in the spare room."

"I'll have to turn that into a nursery," she sighed.

"Get Guy to help you," he suggested, trying to sound offhand.

"Stop it," she said. "You're still here. I'm still here. Stop trying to pawn me off on Guy."

"I really think I'm trying to pawn Guy off on you," he said, and wrapped his arms around her as tightly as he could so she wouldn't see him fighting tears.

"I love you," she said, snuffling against his chest. "I wish it didn't have to be this way. Nobody paints ducks like you do."

"It'll be all right," he said, rocking her gently, and he knew he was lying.

+ + + +

Boyce kept the pointer. Someday, he thought, when he was a proper doctor with students of his own, he'd use it. Not the way Statham had, of course. Nobody could ever be Statham.

+ + + +

John and Jane Doe had been washed up on a beach and taken to the nearest morgue, which was in a teaching hospital. Their hands were still clasped together and the attendant had to break their fingers to get them apart. The anatomy and pathology students went insane over the key and the soldier and it was only after a week or so that anyone thought to check the dental records and find out who they were.

Martin went to identify the bodies, wondering just when Joanna had listed him as next-of-kin. She'd left him everything in the will, too: "to my son, Martin Dear, I leave my estate, not because I like him, but because there's no one else."

+ + + +

It was strange to see Mac bald and crying. Caroline was with him at the end, of course, her thin body laid along the length of Mac's, holding his hands, passing her palm over the curve of his skull, kissing his eyelids. Martin sobbed in a chair in the corner. Guy stood against the wall and pretended he wasn't crying.

"You remember our wedding?" Caroline murmured, managing a remarkably even tone though her face was wet. "You remember how I floated away? You're going to just float away now, Mac. Just float away, all that sunshine, no pain anywhere."

"I love you," he said, but the words wouldn't quite come out. His voice rasped and caught in his dry throat, but the intention was clear.

"I love you so much," she said. "I'm going to miss you. The sprog, too."

"Guy," Mac whispered. "You'd better take good care of her."

There was no fanfare when it happened. He slipped away in his sleep, his lips against Caroline's forehead and her hand pressed over his heart, and Caroline woke up to the beeping of the monitors. Guy and Martin were stretched out on the couches in the corridor and Guy scrambled into the room as Martin stumbled into the wall.

"That's the end," Caro said, her face crumpling, and took Mac's chart from the foot of the bed. "Time of death: 1.15 a.m."

Guy kicked the door closed into Martin's face, locked it, and caught Caroline as her knees just seemed to give out. "Shh, shh," he said as he held her, but he didn't tell her it would be okay, because it wasn't.

+ + + +

There turned out to be one hell of a dad in Guy after all, though Caroline didn't marry him until Isabelle turned two and had been calling Guy "Da" as long as she could talk.

"You've got two daddies," Guy said, bouncing her on his hip and holding up the picture of Mac. "See? This is your ginger daddy, who's up in heaven, and I'm your Swiss daddy."

"Half Swiss," said Caroline automatically. "Stop filling my daughter's head with nonsense."

"Non-sense," said Isabelle sternly, looking at Guy, who made faces at her until she giggled.

"I got you, babe," he crooned, rocking her.

"Guy..." said Caroline.

"Caroline," he said back, mocking her faintly exasperated tone. "Her ginger daddy told me to take care of her. That's all I'm doing! You know Mac's smiling watching this, wherever he is."

She had to admit that the sight of the infamous Guy Secretan changing nappies was a humorous one, and that Guy hadn't been on a date since...well, since he'd moved in that time. Since Joanna, probably. And she'd gotten used to having him around. He wasn't Mac, but he was nice in his own sort of wankery Guy way, and sometimes when he looked at her, she remembered why she'd been going to marry him in the first place. Parenthood by proxy had softened him.

Later, when Isabelle had been bathed and put to bed, they sat in the living room with glasses of wine, watching old Bond movies.

"I'd've made a hell of a secret agent," Guy said. "Guns, glamour, gash. That's my lifestyle exactly. Or at least it could have been, if you hadn't come along and mucked it all up."

"Shut up," said Caroline, and let him put his arm around her.

"Are you going to marry me now?" he asked gently.

"What makes you think my answer will be any different than the last fifteen times you asked me?" she said into her wine glass, taking a sip.

"Caroline," he said. "I love you. I love Isabelle. I know you miss Mac. I miss him too. But marry me, Caro. I'm not the twat I used to be, and you don't have to be alone all your life."

"I'm hardly alone if you're always here," she said, not looking at him.

"Caroline," he said. "I love you. Marry me."

She thought about hula hoops. She thought about train stations and operating tables and broken pipes and The Kinks and foggy mirrors and hospital corridors and kissing in the toilets.

"All right, fine," she said. "But only if we can keep that big picture of Mac on the bedside table."

"We can have it turned into a poster and put on the ceiling if you want," he said, joy rising in his voice, and she turned her face to his and let him kiss her. He was familiar. He didn't feel like home the way Mac had, but he felt right.