How Green Becomes Wood

"It is a strange dry world," Dark remarked, looking up at the walls, "I know, or want to believe, that even if she does not fully know who we are, she knows we are safe and comforting people. And that is also why we hold her so much, so she can learn we are here and she was not dropped into the world totally alone. But I do not know if she will get a headstart on that. Generally speaking, everything she does will be delayed, and knowing she is a separate individual person might be part of that delay, since it comes with brain development, and her brain is still meant to be in-utero."

He opened the door and stepped inside. His face lit up at the sight of Ivy and Daizi. As he had been making a conscious effort to do, he greeted Daizi first, and then gently lifted Ivy, greeting her in his quiet, warm way, forcing himself to smile big for her sake.

The nurses, meanwhile, blinked at Xander, a bit confused. The younger ones looked over at each other until a nurse who looked like she had probably lived her whole life there with them parted them, picking up the cake, "No problem, sugar,"
Alec bit back a sigh and followed Dark into the room. He smiled at Ivy and went to Daizi after Dark, reaching out to her and asking her all the usual questions of how she was doing, how Ivy was doing, and if he'd missed anything interesting.

Xander grinned. "Thanks! Ma'am. Thank you. I gotta get going now, but thanks a bunch." He turned and headed out, taking the long way around to reach Ivy's room. It would look weird to drop off a cake and then walk straight to the room right next to where the cake was supposed to be delivered. It took him a couple of extra minutes, but he finally reached Ivy's room and stepped inside.
When Xander came in, Dark leaned forward and whispered to Daizi that Xander had walked in. She grinned, 'There you are, habibi. I was beginning to wonder if you weren't coming."

"I told you I brought him here," Dark said in a lightly teasing voice.

She chuckled, "You might have lied. Where have you been, Xander?"
"Just got a bit distracted," Xander told her. "Ended up taking the long way around. At least I didn't get lost."

"Lucky you," Alec grumbled. "Aunt Ciara should be here any minute now. I thought she might get here first!"

"I didn't take that long," Xander snorted. "So, what did I miss?"

Just then, Ciara tapped lightly on the hospital door and waited politely for it to be opened rather than open it herself.
Dark got up hearing the knock and opened the door. He was dressed down, and didn't feel completely comfortable about it, but it also didn't feel like, considering the situation, he had other options. Daizi didn't care that she was barely in pajamas, she gave birth two days ago. She was allowed to look however she wanted.

"Hi, Ciara," she said, "Thank you for coming."
Ciara - as neat and put together as ever, this time in a deep green skirt suit with a black blouse - gave Dark a little nod. "Of course. I am honored you would consider inviting me to such a personal event." She gave the tiniest of smiles, seeming almost cautious and uncertain behind her typical professional air. "Is now a good time, or shall I give everyone a moment?"

Alec peeked out from behind Dark. "Hello, Aunt Ciara!" he chirped. "We're happy you could come!"
"No, now is fine," Dark assured her, stepping to the side to let Ciara come more completely into the room, "I know the room is somewhat tight. You can sit in the arm chair if you would like."

Daizi sat up a bit, wincing, "Would you like to meet Ivy? She is very gentle."
"Uh, no, thank you, I am fine standing," Ciara assured him. She followed him in and nodded to Daizi. "Good morning. Yes, I would like to meet her, but how are you doing?" She glanced briefly toward Ivy, curious and willing to meet the baby, but she'd heard so many people complain about how others seemed to forget about them once the baby was born that she wanted to make certain she greeted Daizi first.
"I'm... tired," Daizi said with mild hesitation, "Thank you. It's been... a busy few days. But she's doing well, in a relative manner of speaking."

Dark went to the cot and gently lifted Ivy, bringing her close to his chest. She jerked her little arms, and then settled down, which made him smile, "She is tired too. There is a lot of development for her to do still." He crossed the room and handed Daizi their daughter, since Ciara was closer to her.
Ciara approached as closely as she deemed polite and leaned over to look at the baby. "She is quite small."

"Observation of the century," Xander remarked blandly.

The corner of Ciara's mouth crimped briefly, but she ignored him. "She has quite a lot of hair. While she is still rather... formless, I would say she is a lovely combination of you both. Congratulations."

"I think she looks just like herself," Alec said with a smile.
"Thank you," Daizi beamed, and then said, only realizing what she was saying as she said it, "I'm glad she's got enough of him in her to balance me out. But I guess the features she got from me are what mine were meant to be. And... and that's something." She ran her thumb through Ivy's hair and then traced her finger down her nose.

Dark sat down on the edge of the bed, watching them from a distance, "As far as premature babies go, I think she is very pretty."

"Ivy, this is Khalaty Ciara..." She raised her head, "You can hold her, if you'd like to, but there's no pressure."
Ciara cleared her throat. "Hello, Ivy. It is very nice to meet you," she greeted her in a gentle, friendly voice that wasn't even close to Dark's baby voice. "You are very cute." Looking at Daizi, Ciara said, "Thank you, but I do not feel comfortable holding her right now. I appreciate the offer."
"That's okay," Daizi promised, adjusting how she held her daughter, "I think most people are apprehensive about holding her. When she's older and more herself, everyone will be much more relaxed around her."

"Once her skull is fused and she can support the weight of her own head," Dark commented.

"And when she has a stronger immune system."
"My. It's amazing you trust anyone to hold her," Ciara said, looking slightly uneasy, as if simply standing there might somehow hurt Ivy.

"She'll have to get used to it quick because all of her aunts and uncles are coming to see her," Alec piped up, smoothly leading into the thing he most wanted them to talk about. "That is, if they can get here. If they can't, it'll ruin everything."

"Oh?" Ciara asked, willing to talk about nearly anything other than the baby's frailty. "Is there a tradition about visiting children I am not aware of?"
Daizi frowned, having a sinking feeling her family wouldn't be able to make it, "It's called Sebou: on the seventh day she's alive, all her family is supposed to come, and we'd put her in a sieve and crash around on pots and pans and I'd step over her seven times and they leave gifts for her, and the women cook a big meal. If she were home we'd carry her through every room in the house... It's to strengthen her, and to welcome her to the world and helping her ward off evil spirits and all those sorts of things."

"But Egypt has a weak passport, so they're trying to get visas, but normally, getting a visa to the US takes time, and it is hard to get here within seven days," Dark explained, "whereas if they were coming from England, they would likely already be here."
"I see. That seems as though it might not be the best tradition to uphold within a hospital," Ciara mused, "but I can understand the importance of such displays. All cultures have them in some form or another, and while they might seem... unusual... to outsiders, if nothing else, they strengthen the bonds between the family."

"But it's not going to happen if things stay on their current track," Alec hinted. "It seems unfair that Ivy not only has to deal with having her literal life be extra difficult, she can't even have the celebrations she's owed."

Ciara glanced at Ivy. "What part of Egypt will your family be traveling from?"
Hearing Ciara's comment, Daizi wilted slightly. It wasn't like it was her choice to do it in the hospital, but... The seventh day was important. It wasn't her fault. Well. Not entirely. Well. And she hated so much of their situation already, it ached to hear Ciara's response to one of the few things she was excited about while they were in this horrible place, "We know enough not to do it too loudly." But she did relax when Alec defended it, "They're coming from Cairo."
"Oh, Cairo is not so difficult," Ciara said with a slight nod. "At least, comparatively. Egypt in general has quite a weak passport, as you mentioned, but Cairo has a little bit more stability. The authorities are more willing to approve Cairo passports. Although, it will likely still take a good deal longer than seven days to get them approved and processed. That would be difficult even on a German passport in some places. Still, I suppose a few words in the right ears might move things along."

Alec wondered if he dared ask. Then he decided to risk it. "Do you think you could say those words?"

Ciara raised a brow at him. "I do not work in immigration, Alec."

"Sorry," Alec mumbled, backing up.

Ciara hesitated before slowly saying, "However, I do know someone who might be able to get things to move along a bit faster. I do not know how much they might help, but it is possible."
Dark nearly made a comment regarding how Germans didn't need a visa to visit the US, but understood that wasn't the point, so instead he said, "We know it is nearly impossible, and we are expecting to have to do some kind of virtual version, which is not ideal, considering Daizi's disability."

"You don't have to put yourself out of your way for us," Daizi said, but said more out of politeness and obligation than out of genuine feeling. If anybody could do anything that might get her family stateside, she wanted them to do it, "but if you are comfortable asking that person, it'd be really very kind. What do you do for a living, anyway? I don't believe you've said."
Ciara had pulled out her phone, though Alec couldn't see where it had been. He hadn't seen her hand disappear into a pocket. It had just appeared like a magic trick. She moved a couple of steps away but glanced toward Daizi. "Hmm? Oh. I work with the Bureau."

"The Bureau? What's that?" Xander demanded. "It sounds like a spot you store things."

Ciara moved her eyes toward him. "Oh, we do. Information on investigations, mostly, on a Federal level."

Alec caught it first. "The Federal Bureau of Investigations? You work for the FBI?"

Ciara held up a finger as Xander took a deep breath. "I am in a low-level position, and, no, I cannot tell you any more as I believe only Daizi has the clearance to know any further information. It's classified." SHe almost smiled at that then held up her phone. "Excuse me a moment." She stepped out of the room, closing the door behind her.

Alec grinned. "I knew she was the right one to help!"

"Yeah, an investigator who couldn't even find her nephews for years. Really talented, ain't she?" Xander grumbled.

"She never said she was an investigator. There are lots of different positions in the FBI," Alec sniffed.