don't quite turn out always how we think
pg-13 | no warnings apply
He knew something was wrong the second she came in the door. She was blinking in the way she did when she was trying not to cry, pressing her lips together the way she did when she was trying not to frown.
Sigma willed himself to remain calm; it wasn't wholly unusual for her to be upset when coming home from work. It usually meant she had lost a patient. She would manage to keep it together for the remainder of her shift and then come home and cry in his arms.
But when she saw him, she didn't seek out his embrace, or ask him to hold her. She was gripping her phone in her hand so tightly he thought it might shatter.
"He's asking for a new trial."
The glass he was holding did shatter, jagged shards and water falling to the floor. It had the unintended side effect of distracting her as she rushed to get his hand over the sink to wash away bits of glass and blood. Miraculously, there was only one minor cut on his palm. She bandaged it up and then turned her attention to sweeping and mopping the floor. He didn't offer to help; she needed something to busy herself with, so he left her alone until she was ready to talk.
"He's claiming there was judicial misconduct," she said, finally, as she put the mop back in the cleaning closet.
"He's on fucking video stabbing the fucking guy! There were six witnesses in the bar that testified against him!"
Although he regretted that someone had lost their life, Sigma had felt a small measure of satisfaction when he found out her ex-husband had been charged with voluntary manslaughter as a result of that bar fight. Marcus had been sentenced to eleven years; the DA had warned them that it was likely he would only serve six, but it would count as his second strike. So unless the current legislation to repeal the three strikes law passed, it meant he only had to fuck up one more time to ensure life in prison.
As if she had read his mind - and fuck, she probably had - Diana pulled him aside as soon as they left the courthouse and demanded he promise to not confront Marcus upon his release to goad him into committing that third strike.
"His lawyer says that the judge should have recused herself, because of her own history with domestic violence, and that she shouldn't have allowed testimony about his previous conviction, because trying to stab your estranged wife is completely different from stabbing a stranger because you got drunk and disagreed with his opinion of the local sports team."
Sigma's hand ached as it balled up into a fist. "That is such bullshit."
"Even if he got a new trial, they'd still convict him, right?" She looked up at him with pleading eyes and he didn't hesitate to pull her close.
Meanwhile, the fucking prick would probably be out on bail. If he even fucking thought about -
"I can't watch you go to jail, Sigma. Please."
He took a deep breath to calm himself down. "I won't do anything stupid. I promise."
"I can't lose you." Her arms tightened around him and it was like pouring water on a fire. He stroked her back and kissed the top of her head. The last thing she needed right now was to be worrying about his temper getting him in trouble.
"I'm not going to let him take me away from you. I won't let him ruin this."
Phi groaned as she stood up after loading the dishwasher, causing Diana to look at her in concern.
"I'm okay. I just ate too much."
If there's a universe where she did grow up with her biological parents, and that Diana was as good a cook as this one, Phi was pretty sure she was the size of a dwarf planet there. They had dinner together every Wednesday, barring any let-us-go-save-the-world-again missions, and her mother seemed to be trying to make up for years of lost meals together as a family by serving enough food to feed a small nation. There were always plenty of leftovers and they always went home with Phi.
Diana put her hand on her stomach for the seventeenth time since Phi had come over, an anxious look on her face.
"Does Sigma know?"
She looked at Phi in surprise, then shook her head. Her father must be denser than Phi thought. There was ginger ale in the fridge. Diana had declined wine with dinner. She had disappeared into the bathroom at headquarters last week before a morning briefing and when she finally joined them, she had clearly wiped off her lipstick. Add to that the fixation with rubbing her belly, and it was fucking obvious.
But then again, it was also probably unplanned.
They wanted kids; that much was also fucking obvious. Diana would slow down in stores if they walked by cribs or baby clothing. Sigma would get a wistful expression on his face when he saw other parents with children.
But they had also decided to wait until they were sure the world wasn't going to end.
"Do you think he'll be upset?" Diana asked, her voice barely louder than a whisper. "This is not the best timing. The failure rate of the implant is supposed to be less than one percent. That's why we chose it."
She honestly didn't know why Diana was even asking. Except no, she did; Diana didn't talk to her much about her previous marriage, but Phi knew enough to know that it was fucking awful. She wouldn't have been surprised if there had been a pregnancy scare and she got the shit beat out of her for it.
If that fucker ever showed his face around here, he would be sorry he was ever born.
But Sigma had demonstrated he'd rather have his arms blown off than have harm come to Diana, so he clearly wasn't going to freak out over a baby that he was probably desperate to have anyway.
Diana was staring at her with wide eyes and Phi realized she'd been silent for entirely too long.
"Come on, Diana. Was he upset in the shelter?"
She closed her eyes for a moment. "No. He was scared. We both were."
"He'll be fine with this, then."
Phi did her best to keep her tone light. None of them had any intention of allowing the apocalypse to occur, and they had every right to start a family. Their bodies had never been through the stress of the Decision Game, so their gametes were probably free of any evil mutations that would cause a super villain to arise.
And it wasn't as if this new baby would suddenly cause them to forget they had a daughter already. Maybe she wouldn't get to spend as much time with them as she does now, but she was probably stuck up their butts too much as is.
She wasn't jealous or anything.
That would have been stupid.
She rubbed the spot on her arm where her implant had been as she descended into the basement. She hated being down there - it was cold and dark and she swore it was haunted, no matter what Sigma said - but it was almost eleven and Sigma would forget to come to bed if she didn't remind him.
He was probably tinkering with his "upgrades" to Sean's head. When he had first unveiled it to the rest of them, three weeks after Dcom, he had said it was rudimentary and would need improvements. Personally, Diana had thought it was perfect as it was. It looked like a mixture of Eric and Mira's faces, and aside from the fact that it blinked on a rigid, regular schedule, which was somewhat distracting, it was amazing. She suspected that the upgrades were really just an excuse to fly Sean out and spend time with him.
She hadn't been down there in months, usually preferring to just yell down at him, so she didn't really know what to expect when she reached the bottom of the stairs. He looked like he'd been caught doing something wrong, and whatever he was working on had a sheet hastily thrown over it.
Aoi had cracked a joke the other day about how Sigma was probably building a sexbot down in his "dungeon" and for a second or two, Diana was entertaining the notion.
"I just didn't want anyone seeing them until they were done," he said sheepishly.
He pulled down the sheet and she really couldn't see what the big fuss was. It looked like the framework for four robots, each one slightly bigger than the last. They were headless, which was a little disconcerting.
"I ... knew you were working on robotics down here. Did you think I didn't know they started out like this?"
Surely he didn't think she believed they sprung, fully-formed, from his head, like Athena from Zeus. She didn't understand until he stepped aside, letting her see what was on the workbench.
"Oh my god."
There were four heads, one for each body, with Sean's face on them. No, not exactly Sean's face - each one was a little bit different. A little bit older.
"I started trying to make a body that would age. It's not difficult to make a robot that will grow taller and bigger, but the ABT presents a problem. It stretches only as much as our skin does. He'd basically have to have repeated grafts as he grew. So I thought, why not just make a new body for him every six months or so? It's not a perfect solution, but if we time it during holiday breaks and summer vacations, the changes shouldn't be so drastic as to alert teachers."
Realization finally hit her. "You want to make it so he can go to school."
"I know this isn't the only obstacle. We'd have to come up with a backstory for him, fake some records -"
"Which should be incredibly easy, especially with Alice's help."
"- but I also want his internal fluid - his blood - to look more like real blood, in case he's injured and there are witnesses around. It's not just the matter of dyeing it red. As it is, it doesn't clot or flow like normal blood. The central core that receives messages from the computer where his mind is stored could just be swapped out from head to head until he reaches adulthood. By then, I might have come up with a way to program the head to age. Getting the hair to turn grey gradually shouldn't be an issue; it's getting the ABT to form wrinkles that might be more difficult."
The excitement was evident on his face. She understood why he didn't want anyone to know - if he failed, he wouldn't want to dash Sean's hopes. Better to give him a happy surprise than crushing disappointment.
For the third time today, she felt her eyes begin to tear up. He reached for her and she eagerly stepped into his embrace.
"Sigma ... I ... I ..."
"I know. I was wondering when you were going to tell me."
She craned back her head to look up at him. "You knew?"
"I do have some experience with you being pregnant. You've thrown up every morning for the past six days. You've been touching your stomach much more than you usually do. And if I'm not mistaken, your Cs are turning into Ds. So I assume you're at least a month along."
"Probably six weeks. You're ... you're not upset? I know this isn't what we planned."
He kissed her forehead before answering. "Not at all. If I remember correctly, though, I'm going to have at least four months of you crying over literally everything."
"It was not that bad," she said, burrowing her face in his chest.
"You cried when I taught Gab how to fetch. You cried when I mentioned I wanted to rearrange the furniture in the lounge. You cried when I found hand sanitizer in -"
"Okay, okay." Her words were muffled against his shirt. "Shut up."
He released her and took her hand, guiding her out of the basement and towards their bedroom.
"Unplanned doesn't mean unwanted, Diana."
"I know. I just ... I feel irresponsible."
He stopped her outside the bathroom. "Why do you assume you're responsible? Maybe my sperm are just really fucking determined."
She imagined tiny spermatozoa with Sigma's face barreling towards an ovum and burst out laughing.
As her giggles subsided, he cupped her face in his hands. "We should get married."
Back in the shelter, when they were certain she was pregnant, he got the machines in Manufacturing to work and he crafted wedding rings out of scrap. By the time the twins were born, her fingers were too swollen and his were too thin for them to fit, so they carried them in their pockets. She hadn't needed to ask him if he was doing it out of obligation, or convention.
And she didn't need to ask him now.
"Yes," she said, simply. "We should."