Author: Kat Lee
Dedicated To: Happy Birthday, kiramaru7!
Fandom: Golden Girls
Character/Pairing: Blanche/Dorothy, Sophia, Rose
Word Count: 1,029
Date Written: 18 October 2016
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
She almost hadn't made it to this birthday. When she had started hurting last night, she had dismissed her chest pains as gas until she'd woken up with what felt like a huge hand closing all around her tiny body. She hadn't even been able to call for her daughter. Panic had began to set in, but she'd managed to make it out of her bedroom and into the hallway before falling.
She'd brought a picture down with her, successfully making enough noise that her girls would know there was a problem. All three had come running. Dorothy had screamed, sounding, for the first time, like a true woman. Sophia had glimpsed her daughter rushing out of Blanche's bedroom, an arrangement about which her girls thought she knew nothing, just before her eyes had shut.
They had just now reopened. She'd thought she was alone until Rose dropped the cups of coffee she was carrying. "Sophia!" the blonde cries, rushing to her hospital bed and waking the other two numb skulls. "You're awake!"
"Don't stand there gawking, Rose -- " Sophia tries to admonish, but she can barely hear herself speak.
"Ma!" Dorothy grips her hand.
"Oh, Sophia! You had us all worried!" Blanche takes her other hand, patting it.
"What?" the oldest of their little group squeaks out. "An heart attack isn't going to take me out! Why, back in Sicily, we'd have heart attacks, get up, and go right back to working -- "
"Well, you're not going back to working today, young lady," Rose says stubbornly, nodding her head.
"Rose, please, I'm anything but young -- "
"And she's not working. Ma, what happened? I thought you were taking care of yourself!"
"It probably wasn't anythin' she caused, Dorothy, at least not knowingly. You didn't do anything, did you, Sophia?" Blanche urges.
"I might have ate too much pizza," Sophia admits weakly, but her voice is going again already. "Come here, Slutpuppy -- "
"Ma!" Dorothy admonishes, horrified to hear her mother speaking in such a dreadful way in the hospital.
"It's okay, Dorothy."
"I should go get your cake -- "
"No, Rose," Sophia tries to speak, but her throat is feeling tight and dry again.
"Hear, Sophia, have some water." Blanche is surprisingly gentle as she holds a small, plastic cup to Sophia's lips and Dorothy helps her to sit up. "Sip it slowly. That's good." She takes the cup away before Sophia can swallow too much. "Now what were you trying to say?"
Sophia's still weak. The room around her is beginning to fade. But she knows where her girls are and what they need. She reaches out again for Blanche's and Dorothy's hands. They grip her tightly. "Ow," she complains as Dorothy clenches her hand. "Not so hard."
"Sorry, Ma. I'm just -- I'm just so worried about you, is all."
"I'm going to recover from this, Dorothy," she vows, her words barely coherent, "I promise, but I need to tell you both something."
"We need to sing you 'Happy Birthday'."
"Not now, Rose!" Dorothy snaps. "Ma? What is it, Ma?"
"It's okay," Sophia says, bringing Blanche's and Dorothy's hands together. She presses them against each other until their fingers entwine.
"Sophia -- " Blanche starts to question uncertainly.
"You better treat each other right." Sophia collapses back onto her bed.
"It's okay, Dorothy," Blanche assures her after carefully checking Sophia's breathing. "She's still alive."
Rose nods. "That took a lot for her to do, you know."
"What was she . . . " Dorothy puzzles aloud, falling silent when her eyes meet Blanche's teary gaze.
"You don't know what she meant?" Rose asks in disbelief. "And you call me the stupid one! She wants you to know it's okay for you two to love each other and not just as family but love love, you know."
"You knew?" Blanche whispers in hoarse surprise, looking wide-eyed at Rose.
Rose grins and bounces on her toes. "I'm not as stupid as you two thought, am I?"
"And Ma knows," Dorothy whispers, staring down into her mother's peaceful, slumbering face.
"Ah guess we didn't hide it as well as we thought," Blanche says, looking up at Dorothy.
"Ma wants me to be happy."
"She always has," Rose tells her, swinging her hands back and forth like a gleeful child. "You really are her favorite, you know."
"I guess . . . Maybe I am, and . . . maybe I understand now why she always tolerated Phil."
"Any good mothah wants her children to be happy, Dorothy," Blanche interjects, "no matter how different they are."
"And what about you?" Dorothy asks, looking up into the beautiful eyes of her dearest friend and, up until now, secret lover. "Are you ready . . . ?"
"To love you?" Blanche asks. "Ah already do. T-to tell Miami? Ah . . . Ah'm not sure." She shakes her head.
"You don't have to tell Miami," Rose advises, once again, oddly, the voice of reason. "You just have to love each other and be honest about it."
"Ah . . . Ah think Ah can do that," Blanche says, reaching across Sophia's bed for Dorothy's hand.
Dorothy grasps her hand and entwines her fingers with hers. "I know we can," she speaks with her firm, masculine voice that makes Blanche shiver in all the right places. She tugs her closer and kisses her gently right there in the hospital. Then she turns her gaze back down onto her mother, who's still sleeping soundly. "Thanks, Ma."
"You can thank her when she wakes up, and she will wake up. I've volunteered in lots of hospitals," Rose reminds them cheerfully, "and Sophia's doing just fine."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure, Dorothy," Rose encourages, walking up to her and slipping her arms around her. Blanche joins them on the other side of Sophia's bed, and the three women hug each other. "She's going to come back to us in no time."
They look at their sleeping matriarch, each feeling a deep love for the old woman and each other. "Happy Birthday, Ma."
"Thank you, Sophia."
"Sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs bite!"
"Rose!" Dorothy snaps, but Rose just grins.