He grimaced as he glanced over at the table. “Always is, this time of year. Do I look that bad?”
She smiled. “You look like you haven’t slept. Then again, nobody else is sleeping tonight, are they?”
He rubbed his forehead with the heel of his hand and looked at the pathologist.
“Cause of death?”
She shook her head. “Too soon to say. Old chap like this, could be any number of things. You’ll have a report on your desk in the morning.”
He sighed and watched as she printed off a numbered identification tag.
“Just a number,” he said. “Sad, isn’t it? First job in the morning, we’ll have to find a name for old mister two zero one three.”
She glanced up at him and shrugged, then frowned. “Is your phone ringing?”
He jumped and fumbled in his pocket. He hadn’t even noticed the quiet buzzing, and he swore when he realised how many missed calls he had.
“Yes? What? How long ago? Shi- I’m sorry, I’ll be right there. Yes, I’m close.”
The pathologist gave him a wry smile. “A few more sleepless nights headed your way? Congratulations.”
He tried to think of something to say, but failed. He waved his hands vaguely at her as he rushed out of the door. A lift took him up through the hospital to the maternity floor, and he rushed to his wife’s bed.
In her arms he could see a bundled up blanket, and as he reached her side a little stubby reddish arm burst free; around it was a little numbered tag.
“Two zero one four,” he said quietly, looking down at his newborn son’s face. “One in, one out.”
His wife looked up at him, confused, and he leaned down to kiss her as fireworks exploded outside.
“Happy New Year, love.”
© Kari Fay
(Author’s Note: I had the idea to write this on Wednesday – when it would have been even more appropriate – but between sleeping off the New Year’s celebrations and getting all excited over the new series of Sherlock I kind of… forgot. So here it is now.)