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Notes and disclaimer in part one.
part two
part three
part four
part five
part six

Steve's POV:

Kono shoves something into my midsection just before shoving me in the direction that Danni just ran off in. As I slowly follow, I'm still totally confused as to what's going on and how it relates to Kono, I'm distantly aware that the thing that was used to drive the breath from my body is Danni's purse.

Now my confusion includes wondering why I have to take the purse with me. Danni hardly ever uses one. She keeps her driver's license in her badge wallet along with a credit card, she wears slacks with pockets so if she feels the need to carry cash she can and I usually have the keys to the Camaro in my pocket so she doesn't have to worry about them.

While on my way out of the office, I stop and pick up Danni's shoes; she's gonna want them when she's done doing whatever it is she's currently doing.

When I get to the landing outside the office doors, Danni's nowhere to be seen so I make an educated guess and head for the women's room. Pushing the door open slowly, I can hear the sound of someone retching.

"D? You alone?"

"Yes," she moans before puking again.

"You okay?" I make my way around the wall that blocks the inside of the room from the view of the people passing outside. I find her standing over the handicap toilet holding her hair back from her face. "If you're sick, why'd you come in?"

"'m not sick." She puts the lie to her words by bending over and puking up nothing but bile.

"Coulda fooled me." I toss her purse at the counter, not really caring if it misses or not, so that I can have both hands free to take care of her.

As luck would have it, I miss the counter and the contents of her purse spill out onto the floor. "What-?" She turns slowly at the sound of everything spilling out onto the floor. "Just leave it, Steve," she says when I crouch down and begin scooping everything back into the bag.

"No, it's fine. I got it."

I've gotten almost everything back in when she says my name in a tone that I've never heard outside of a scene. My hand closes over the plastic baggie that she was just reaching for. I notice it's wrapped around something about the length of a pencil. I give the baggie a little flick of my wrist to unwrap it and find myself staring at a pregnancy test. Correction: a positive pregnancy test.

I twist on the balls of my feet and slowly raise my eyes to her face. She's leaning heavily on the metal wall that separates the stall she's in from the one next to it with her eyes closed. "Danni. Danni, look at me."

She shakes her head and a tear slips down her cheek. "I can't."

"Is this your pregnancy test?" It says a lot about her state of mind that all she does is nod her head. "I see." But I don't. Not really. It's obvious that she's known for a while now and hasn't told me. Maybe she wasn't planning on ever telling me. "Is it mine?"

Her eyes snap open at that and the anger that blazes in them is hot enough to burn. "I can't believe you just asked me that!"

I stand up and toss the offending piece of plastic in the direction of the sink and listen to it clatter against the porcelain. "What the fuck am I supposed to think, huh? We've never fucked without a condom until this weekend. I may not know much about pregnancy and all that shit but I do know that it doesn't happen that quickly!"

"Please believe me when I say I didn’t plan for this to happen." I've never seen her like this. It's almost as if she expects me to condemn her for something that's completely out of her control.

"You've said that Stan didn't react well to the news that you were carrying his child and now you expect me to react the same way. Is that it?"

She's back to refusing to meet my eyes. "Lots of men wouldn't react well to the news of an unplanned pregnancy. I expect no less from you."

"So what you're saying is you expect me to get angry because nature took its course and despite all our precautions you're pregnant?" I have to pace away from her when she nods her head. "You obviously don't know me at all. How can you even think that I'd react like that piece of shit that donated sperm to make Grace? I am not him! Please do not paint me with the same brush."

"So you're happy about this?"

Something in her voice cuts through my anger and I step closer and lower my voice. "Are you?"

She looks up at me. "I have no idea how I feel about this."

I nod my head. "That makes two of us." I pace back over to the sink and pick the baggie up, examining its contents. "How long have you known?"

"I began to suspect about a month ago when I missed my period. But when I didn't have one this month despite no longer taking my pills I went and got the test to be sure."

"And that doesn't answer my question."

"Friday. I found out Friday."

I spin to frown at her. "Is that why you stopped by before court?"

She nods. "I had bought the test Thursday but forgot about it until Friday morning."

"So, that's it? You're definitely pregnant?"

She shakes her head. "I have an appointment this afternoon to have it confirmed by my doctor."

"I see. And how does he confirm it?"

She smiles a bit. "You really want to know?"

I narrow my eyes at the mirth dancing in her eyes. "Yeah, no. I'll pass." It suddenly fully registers just how long she's known. "Wait." I hold up one hand, palm out. "You took the test Friday." She nods, her pallor getting greener as the seconds tick by. "And you didn't think to tell me once over the following three days? Two of which we spent the entirety of together?" She bites her lip and looks away. "Is this why you decided to stop using condoms?"

She shrugs. "It's not like I can get any more pregnant."

Now I'm getting pissed. "Why didn't you tell me? I had a right to know before now." Two tears slip down her cheeks and I know why she didn't tell me. "Mother fucker! I am not Stan! I would never treat you the way he did."

"I'm sorry but you have to understand-"

"No-" I talk over her. "-I don't have to do shit except make sure you get it through your fucking skull-" I tap the side of her head with the tip of my finger. "-that I fucking love you and will never fucking leave you."

She blinks at me much like she did when I kissed her that first time. "Say that again."

"I'll never leave you."

"No, before that."

I have to actually stop and think about what I just said. Then it clicks and one corner of my mouth quirks up in a half smile because I have a better story of how I told her than she does. "I fucking love you."

When I reach for her, her eyes widen just before she turns and dry heaves over the toilet several times. Not exactly the reaction I was expecting. "Is this normal? I was only four when Mom had Mary so I don't remember much."

"No. This is not normal."

I make a decision that I'm sure will have her screaming at me once she can be away from the toilet long enough. "Where's your phone?" Grabbing her purse off the counter, I start digging through it.

"Steven." She tries to take her purse from me and we have a small tug of war before I give a harder pull and get it away from her.

Turning my back, I finally locate her phone. Holding her off with one hand, I scroll through her contacts. Luckily for me she's just anal retentive enough to have a note next to the entry for a Doctor Meegs that he's her doctor.

I press the send button and listen to the phone ring three times before it's answered by a female voice. "Doctor's office."

Why can't they announce the name of the doctor? "Is this Doctor Megs' office?"

"It's Meegs; two E's. And yes, it is. How may I help you?"

"My girlfriend is a patient and has an appointment for this afternoon."

"Sir, I-" I interrupt her with, "I know you can't confirm that, especially since I didn't tell you her name. I'm calling to see if you have an earlier appointment available."

"Her name?"

"Danni Williams."

"She got the earliest one available when she made the appointment, Sir. But let me check and see if we've had a cancelation since then." The hold music has barely started when she's back. "If you can have her here in twenty minutes the doctor can see her."

"Twenty minutes. You got it. Thanks." I press the off button and drop her phone back in her purse before picking it up and holding it out to her.

"I hate you so much right now." She snatches her purse from my hand and marches out of the bathroom.

"You said all this puking isn't normal. I would like to know if everything's okay. Wouldn't you?"

"What I'd like is for people to stop butting into my affairs!" She spins around on the last step and points a finger in my face. "And since when am I your girlfriend? Especially since you had trouble calling yourself my boyfriend just yesterday!"

Wincing at the volume with which she says that last word, I shrug. "Since we admitted we have feelings for each other."

"Oh, really?" She settles her weight on one foot, crosses her arms over her chest and taps the toes of her other foot. "When did you tell me you have feelings for me? Hm? I'd really like to know because I apparently missed it!"

I scratch the back of my head. "That night I came over after Cath and I talked."

"So you said the words, 'Danni, I like you.'? Because I have never heard those words from you before just now-" She flings out one arm in the direction of the bathroom. "-in the middle of a fucking argument!"

"Well, no. But I said it with my actions!"

"Unbelievable. Completely unbelievable," she mutters, stomping the rest of the way to her car.

She slides behind the wheel and the look on her face dares me to argue about it. "Should you be driving?" I ask, climbing into the passenger seat.

"I'm barely pregnant, Steven. We can have this discussion again when I can no longer see my feet." She turns the key with a vicious twist of her wrist and then peels out of the parking lot which has me grabbing for the handle above the window.

If this is how I drive, no wonder she's always complaining.

We arrive at Kapi'olani Medical with nearly ten minutes to spare. She surprises me by using the valet but I guess it saves time searching for a spot.

Normally she's the one having difficulty keeping up with me but today I'm finding myself nearly jogging just to stay two steps behind her.

The journey through the hospital and up the elevator is done in complete silence. The one time I start to say something she gives me such a quelling look that I have to quickly readjust myself. And if I'm not mistaken, she smirks a bit at that.

The door to her doctor's office looks just like every other door in the hall with absolutely nothing to tell it apart from any other office. And inside is no different, either.

When she opens the door, I step back out to make sure we're in the right place because the generic beige walls do not scream OB/GYN.

"Danni!" The nurse behind the window greets Danni like she's a dear friend.

"Sally. How are Jim and the kids?"

"They're good. How is Grace?"

"Couldn't be better."

"Why are you here, today?"

"Pregnancy check."

The nurse - Sally's - face lights up but she doesn't express her excitement. "Is this happy news?"

Danni looks at me from the corner of her eye. "Not sure yet."

Sally looks at me and raises one brow as if to say, 'Well?' before turning back to Danni. "His job's already done, though and you've raised Grace just fine." Suddenly I feel like I'm missing something extremely important; something I'm sure I'd know if I was female.

"I suppose."

Sally's smile is a bit forced. I don't think she likes me. "Have a seat. Margo will come get you in a minute."

I follow Danni around the wall blocking my view of the rest of the waiting area and here is the room I had been expecting. The walls are covered with posters with everything from how to take care of your body before, during, and after pregnancy to the proper way to breastfeed.

On a little table in the corner is a stand full of pamphlets. I head over and reach out for one that says it's about what to expect during the last trimester.

"You don't want to read those."

I turn to find Danni trying to not laugh at me. "Why not? These are things I need to know, right?"

"Yeah, sure but not from those."

"Again, why not?"

She steps closer and lowers her voice. "You like playing with my vagina?"

"Um, yeah."

"Then don't look at those." She tugs on my arm. "I'll get you some that are for someone other than the woman who's pregnant." I look back at the table with its informative pamphlets and let her drag me over to a couple of chairs near the door leading into the inner office. "Here-" She hands me a magazine with some sports star on the cover. "-this Sports Illustrated is only a month old."

I know as a man I should be more into sports than I am but I'm from a state that doesn't have any professional teams and I've been mostly out of touch with the world for a long time. I have no idea who the top sports stars are or anything about any team other than The Yankees and The Jets. And I only know those two because those are the teams Danni follows.

The door to the inner office opens before I can even sit down. "Danni." The nurse, I'm guessing she's Margo, smiles at Danni. "You look well."

I frown at her over Danni's head but she's not paying me any attention. Woman must be half blind. Anyone with eyes can see that Danni's pale and looks like she's spent the morning puking. "Well, she's not," I say stopping Margo from closing the door in my face with my right hand. "She's been throwing up most of the morning."

Margo frowns up at me before turning back to Danni. "Is this true? You know we're not a GP, right?"

Danni glares at me over her shoulder, her lips a thin line. "I'm aware. I took a pregnancy test Friday that came back positive. I'm here for confirmation."

Margo's face splits into a wide grin. "That's awesome news." Then she seems to pick up on the tension. "It is good news, isn't it?"

"We haven't decided yet," Danni says at the same time I say "It most assuredly is." Danni and I have a staring contest for a long moment before Margo clears her throat.

"Danni, if you would-?" She holds out one arm toward the scale. "I know you were just here last month but you know how it goes."

"Yeah." Danni kicks off her shoes and steps onto the scale.

Margo sets the weights to what Danni obviously weighed when she was here last but the bar doesn't move so she moves it down and it balances. "Huh," she huffs and writes the number in Danni's file.

"What does 'huh' mean?"

"Steve." Danni warns me off with a shake of her head.

"No, there is no reason for a nurse to ever say 'huh' while weighing you."

Danni sighs and turns back to Margo while stepping off the scale and back into her shoes. "He's right."

Margo looks between both of us. "I guess if you brought him to an appointment it's okay for him to hear." Danni nods. "You've lost ten pounds since you were here last."

"Huh." Now it's Danni's turn to utter that word. "I haven't changed anything."

Margo shrugs. "It happens sometimes in the first month of pregnancy."

"I didn't lose any when I was pregnant with Grace."

Margo smiles. "Each pregnancy is different, Danni, you know that."

Danni nods and follows Margo into a room where she sits down on the exam table. "Yeah, I know."

"What's his story?" Margo asks while she gets the stuff ready to take Danni's vitals.

"He's the father."

Margo gives me a look and I'm fairly certain she's finding me lacking in some area. "You sure about that?"

They share a smile and chuckle. "Positive. He's the only man I've been with in the past six weeks."

"Is that how far along you think you are?" Margo wraps the blood pressure cuff around Danni's upper right arm and inflates it.

"No. I think I'm four or five weeks. But that's part of why we're here."

Margo frowns at Danni once she's finished taking her blood pressure. "Your pressure's high. You really need to avoid stress while pregnant, you know."

"Yeah, I know." She holds one hand out toward me as if making introductions. "Margo, may I introduce you to 'Stress'?"

"Hello, Stress, nice to meet you." Margo says before they break down in giggles.

"But seriously. With him as a partner I'm lucky I haven't suffered a serious injury yet."

"Hey!" I can't just stand here and let them talk about me like that.

Danni swivels her head to look at me. "You got me shot less than twenty-four hours after we met."

"It was just a graze. It didn't even scar."

"And you get me shot at on a near daily basis."

"Not a 'near daily basis'. Maybe two or three times a week."

"Seriously? You're going to split hairs, here?" If this is what she's saying with me present what has she told them about me before now?

Margo clears her throat. "You have the test you took?"

"Yeah, it's in my purse." Margo hands her the purse.

Danni digs out the baggie and hands it over. "Oh! This is the test we use. They're very reliable."

"So it can't be a false positive?" Is it my imagination but does Danni suddenly sound like she doesn't want to be pregnant?

"Not likely. But Doctor Meegs will be able to tell you for sure."

"And exactly how does he do that?" I probably should just keep my mouth shut but I don't like not being included in a conversation.

"Danni?" Margo raises one brow at her. "You want to tell him?"

"Not really."

"Would someone just tell me?"

"No, sorry. You really don't want to know so why don't you just leave?" The expression on Danni's face isn't one I can easily identify but I know a challenge when I see one.

"Yeah, no dice, Babe. I'm not going anywhere." I widen my stance and settle my weight on the balls of my feet.

"Then stand here." She grabs my arm and pulls me further into the room until I'm standing at the head of the table. "And don't move."

Margo hands her what appears to be a paper blanket. "You know what to do with that." She gathers Danni's file and opens the door. "The doctor will be right in."

As soon as the door shuts, Danni jumps down from the table and walks over to a little curtained area that has a bench attached to the wall. When she begins taking off her pants I stop her.

"What are you doing?"

She slips off her panties, I absently note that they're plain white cotton, and tucks them into a fold of her pants before wrapping the paper blanket around her waist and walking back to the table and climbing back up on it.

"How do you think he's going to check me?"

"But… your…" I wave my hands at her crotch area.

"Yes, he's going to look at my vagina. Even stick his hand up there."

"But… but…" I'm at a total loss here.

"How do you think the baby comes out?"

"You had a C-section with Grace."

"Yes, I did because she was feet first breech. It was a planned surgery because nothing they did made her stay head down. But in a normal delivery the baby comes out the vagina. It's what it's there for."

"But I like your vagina!"

She chuckles at my answer. "I like it too. But again, this is what it's for."

"But his hand!"

She cups my right cheek in her left hand and leans over to kiss me. "Yes, his hand. Just like you had your hand in there Saturday morning." Well, not just like, but I can see what she's trying for. Her vagina is designed to stretch and when she comes for her yearly he probably does something similar.

Before I can respond, the door opens and a deep masculine voice says, "Danni! Back so soon?"

I'm not exactly sure what I expected Doctor Meegs to look like other than older with white hair, but I do know that the young man that enters the room isn't it. Doctor Meegs isn't much older than Danni and I, maybe in his early forties, with sandy brown hair that is still thick and only slightly peppered with grey (unlike my own black hair which has been showing the grey for ten years now). It's obvious he's one of those doctors that practices what he preaches because the body under the light green scrubs is in excellent shape.

"I just couldn't stay away." Danni smiles at him and I feel my blood pressure go up a few notches as jealousy rears its ugly head.

"I see here that you think you're pregnant."


"Hm. How far along do you think you are?"

"Four, maybe five weeks."

"Based on?"

"I was supposed to have my period four weeks ago."

"Right. You always schedule your appointment the week before so that you don't have any lag in your cycle." He's been washing his hands through their entire exchange and now he dries them on some paper towels. "Who's this?" He jabs his thumb in my direction.

"Steve McGarrett." I step forward and extend one hand.

Meegs shakes it. "McGarrett?" His brow crinkles in thought. "I know that name." I can tell the instant he figures it out. "You're the head of the task force Danni works on."

"And her partner, yes, Sir."

"Well, this is taking responsibility for your employees a little far, isn't it, Commander?"

I can't tell if he's joking or not. "I'm the father."

"I see." He shares a look with Danni. "Bit slow isn't he?"

"Excuse me?"

Danni puts one hand on my arm and I immediately begin to feel my blood pressure return to normal. "He's just pulling your chain, Steve. He knows who you are." She turns back to face the doctor. "It's been an emotional kind of day."

"Of course." He slips his hands into gloves. "You don't mind if we do this without a nurse, do you? They're all busy closing for lunch." Danni shakes her head. "Good. In the stirrups you go, my dear."

With a sigh, Danni puts her feet in what I'm guessing are the stirrups and scoots down until her head is in the middle of the table. She looks up at me. "Remember: stay on this end." I nod, still stunned that a strange man is about to put his hand up my girlfriend's vagina.

Meegs sits on the rolling stool and rolls until he's between her spread knees. "Okay, Danni, little pressure," he murmurs.

Danni winces. "Is he hurting you?" My protective instincts kick into high gear and I regret leaving my gun in the car.

"No, it's just uncomfortable. He has big hands."

"You'd think a gynecologist would have small hands."

"You'd think. Just be glad I didn't become an urologist."

My brain locks up a bit at the thought of someone with his large fingers performing a prostate exam on me. "Yeah. For men everywhere, please let me say thank you for that."

He chuckles a bit and stands up so he can press on Danni's abdomen causing her to wince again. "Yep. Definitely enlarged. And it's slightly bigger than when you were here last month."

Danni props herself up on her elbows. "My uterus was enlarged last month and you didn't say anything?"

"It's always slightly enlarged when I see you due to the lining thickening in preparation of a pregnancy."


He pulls off his gloves and pats her outer thigh. "I'd say you're anywhere from seven to nine weeks."

"How'd you get that figure?" She sits up all the way, clutching the paper blanket around behind her to hide her gorgeous bottom.

"The uterus doesn't start to enlarge like this, or even like I felt it last month, until the zygote implants which happens two to three weeks after conception."

"Zygote?" That's a term I've never heard before.

"Yeah." Meegs washes his hands again. "The zygote is the fertilized egg."

"Oh. Why's it take so long to implant?"

"That's how long it takes to travel from the fallopian tube to the uterus."

"Makes sense." Danni nods.

"I want to do an ultrasound today to make sure it hasn't implanted in your scar and narrow down how far you are so we can guesstimate a due date." He picks up her file and opens the door. "So get dressed and come to my office so we can discuss the do's and don'ts and I can give you your prenatal swag." And with that he's out the door, shutting it softly behind him.

Danni gets up from the table and uses the paper blanket to wipe between her legs. I look between her and the door several times. "He just had his hand-" I gesture at my crotch.

"Yes, he did."

"I've never had more than four fingers in there."

"And now you know I can take more." She steps into her panties. "Want to fist me? I'll let you if you want to."

"Fist…" I think my brain has short circuited at the thought of fisting her.

She finishes getting dressed and steps into her shoes before crowding into my personal space and capturing my lips in a heated kiss. "Who would have thought that having you watch another man shove his hand up my pussy would get me so fucking hot? God! I could take you right here."

"B…but you…you won't. Right?" I've never shied away from sex before but something about the thought of sex in the exam room where it was confirmed that I'm going to be a father just doesn't seem appealing.

She steps back and sighs. "No, I'm not. Even I'm not that kinky." She opens the door and I follow her out into the hall.

When we pass a bathroom, I stop her. "I'm just gonna…" I nod at the bathroom.

Danni shakes her head. "No, you're not."

My dick is hard and leaking and I really don't want to sit in the doctor's office and pretend it's not. "Danni-" I start but she doesn't let me finish.

"You will not touch it, Dog." Oh, so that's how it is, huh? My cock twitches at her tone and use of my name. "You will keep that hard-on right where it is because I have plans for it later."

She would have to say that as she's opening the door to Meegs' office. The image of what she just might have in mind has me stumbling a bit and if the smirk on the doctor's face is any indication, he heard and knows why I nearly tripped over my own feet.

Danni takes the chair closest to the door, forcing me to have to all but climb over her to get to the other one. Surely he could afford a bigger office? Or maybe just get a smaller desk? The thing is huge and takes up a good three-fourths of the room. "So,-" He hands Danni a small gift bag. "-here's you prenatal swag. It has some pamphlets in there with information that has changed since you were last pregnant." He reaches into a drawer and pulls out a stack of pamphlets. "And these are for you. You'll find they have all the same information as the ones in the waiting room but without the detailed pictures of the vagina and other female bits."

"I love her vagina." I have no idea why I said that. I can feel the heat of a blush exploding in my face.

Meegs gives me a small smile and when I look over at Danni she's grinning hugely at me. "I know you do and I love how much you love it. But trust me. You do not want to see the pictures in the pamphlets designed for women. Hell, I'm a woman and I don't want to see them."

"I'm sure I could handle it."

"No, really, you can't," Meegs says. "I was engaged to my wife during my gynecological rotation. I couldn't even look at her naked the entire time. And just like you, I love vagina. So please, do the both of you a favor and don't even look this stuff up on the internet."

"Yeah, okay." I start absently flipping through the pamphlets, only half listening to what Meegs is telling Danni.

"Do drink more water. Do cut out all caffeine."

That catches my attention and my head snaps up. "Whoa, let's not be too hasty here, now. You ever seen her without her morning cup of coffee?"

He laughs. "She's aware that caffeine is now off limits. Aren't you, Danni?" She nods. "You can drink herbal tea and eat lots of fruit that have a high caffeine content."

"I thought you just told her no caffeine?"

"Natural caffeine is better than the artificial kind that you'll find in coffee."

"Oh." I go back to my pamphlets. They really are quite informative, if a bit juvenile.

"Do continue to exercise. Don't do gymnastics or anything that puts pressure on your abdomen. Yoga and Pilates are best."

"I already do both."

"Good. Commander?" I look up and find them both staring at me.

"What? Did I miss something?"

"No. Do you have any questions?"


"Sex is still okay. Nothing that puts pressure on her abdomen, though. So no bending her over a table or counter." My blush is getting hotter. "You'll find her sex drive will go into high gear, if it hasn't already and then disappear before coming back stronger than ever."

"So we can have sex as long as she's in the mood?"

"Until we get closer to the end. Orgasms and semen can trigger contractions so we caution against both starting in about the seventh month."

"Anything else I should or shouldn't do?"

"If she has a food craving, get it for her. Craving something means she needs some nutrient in that food." He looks over at Danni. "Any questions?"

"Nope. Not much has changed in the past eleven years."

"Yeah, this is one thing that tends to stay the same." He pulls out a prescription pad and scribbles on it before ripping it off and handing it to her. "Here's a script for anti-nausea medicine." He scribbles again and hands that one to her, too. "And one for prenatal vitamins." A third script joins the growing pile. "And calcium. These are horse pills so you might want to cut them in half. But take both halves at the same time."


"Okay." He stands. "I had the technician get the ultrasound ready. We'll take another later so you can actually see the baby." He walks around the desk and leads us down the hall to a dark room with what looks like a computer sitting on a cart next to a bed.

A young woman is fiddling with something on the monitor. "Jasmine, this is Danni and her partner, Steve. All we need today is to make sure the zygote hasn't implanted in her C-section scar."

"You got it, Doc."

Danni lies down on the bed while undoing her pants and pulling them and her panties down enough to expose her scar and unbuttons the bottom few buttons on her shirt before tucking the ends around her back. Jasmine squirts some goop on Danni's stomach. "It's warm."

"Yeah. We've found the warmth makes the babies move more than cold."

"And I'm sure the women you use it on don't mind either."

"Of course not." Jasmine presses some buttons on the machine before placing what looks like a microphone to Danni's belly, pressing down and moving it to smear the goop around. "First we'll make sure it's not in your scar, okay?"


Jasmine looks up at me and smiles. "There's a chair behind you, Dad."

Dad. A name I never thought would apply to me but thanks to Danni, and the Fates that brought her into my life, I'll be answering to it this time next year. A lump forms in my throat and to cover my emotional response, I turn and fiddle with the chair for a long moment. Once confident that I won't embarrass myself, I turn back around and sit down in the chair, my attention fully on the grainy black and white image on the monitor.

Jasmine and Danni both stare at the screen as if they know exactly what they're looking at, and while I believe Jasmine does know (she is the ultrasound technician after all), I wonder just how much Danni knows. "I'm not seeing anything near your scar, which is the most beautiful scar I've ever seen, by the way."

"Thank you. It was a planned C-section so they were able to take their time cutting me open and sewing me up."

"Let's see just where this little one is, now, shall we?" She moves the wand up Danni's belly in sweeping circles until she pauses up near Danni's belly button. "Here we are." I lean forward, trying to make heads or tails out of what I'm seeing. "See this shadow, here?" Jasmine points to a darker spot near the top of the screen. "That's the sack. And this bean shaped spot here-" She puts the cursor on the spot. "-is the baby."

"It's not very big." I frown at the screen. I'm not sure what I was expecting, the image in the pamphlet Meegs gave me was a couple of inches long but the image on the screen looks to be about a quarter that size.

"It'll get bigger." Again I feel like I'm being made fun of.

"I'm sorry for making stupid sounding statements but this is all new to me. First time father and first real relationship. When it comes to all things female I'm kinda at a loss. So please stop treating me like I'm an idiot."

"Steve." Danni puts one hand on my neck. "I'm sorry if I made you feel that way."

I shake my head. "It wasn't you. It was all the nurses. They've been acting like I should know these things."

Jasmine and Danni share a look. "I'm sorry I came across like that. We don't get a lot of men in here and the ones we do don't usually ask questions."

I nod sharply once. "Fair enough. Now about the size of my kid: the pamphlet shows it as about two inches but that's barely an inch."

"That's because the pamphlet has it blown up to show detail." Danni rubs her thumb in circles on my neck. I want nothing more than to lower my head and let her run those magnificent hands of hers all over my body. As it is I'm nearly purring in contentment at her touch. "And that's why Doc said we'd take another ultrasound later when the baby's bigger."

"Yeah, at the next one you'll be able to watch it move around and see its heart beating as well as the spine." Jasmine presses a couple more buttons. "Speaking of the heart beating, do you want to hear it?"

"It has a heartbeat already?" Danni looks confused and if she's confused then something's not right.

"It does."

"If I'm barely out of the second month it shouldn't have a heartbeat yet."

"Oh, did I forget to mention that it looks like you're closer to the end of the first trimester?" She looks between Danni and I. "Yeah, judging from this little one's size I'd say you're about ten weeks."

"Well, fuck." Apparently Danni doesn't know how to count.

"Ten weeks, huh?" Jasmine nods. "Well, I guess I can stop feeling guilty about the condom breaking six weeks ago."

Danni raises her head and glares at me. "I'm sorry, what?"

I shrug because how can I explain why I didn't mention it? "Yeah. I didn't come so I didn't think anything of it at the time. I was going to say something later but…"

Danni drops her head back down with a low growl and presses the heels of her hands to her eyes. Before she can say anything, however, what sounds like an unbalanced washing machine fills the silence.

"Is that…?" I point at the image of my child on the screen.

"Yes, that's the heartbeat."

I laugh. "I did that!" Danni smacks me on the arm. "I mean, I did that. To you! I - we - fuck!" Laughter keeps bubbling up and I don't try to keep it in. I haven't had much to laugh about in my life but this… This right here is every reason in the world to be happy.

When I finally sober up, I'm distantly aware that something has changed in Danni's demeanor. I don't think much of it because I'm going to be a father! I lean over Danni's belly and whisper a promise to her belly. I don't think the baby can hear me yet but I don't care; it's a promise that needs to be said so I say it. And I will repeat that promise every day for the rest of my life.

"Hey, Jasmine?" She turns from where she's examining the image and raises her brows at me. "Could I get that emailed to me?"

She smiles at me. "Sure. Danni, would you like a copy, too?" Danni shakes her head and starts wiping the goop off her stomach with the tissues Jasmine hands her.

I give Jasmine my email address and then pull out my phone, impatiently waiting for the email to come through. When it does a few seconds later, I immediately save the picture as the wallpaper, rubbing my thumb lovingly across the white shape that is my child.

I can't stop looking at the image and so I hook one finger in the strap of Danni's purse so that I don't get lost on the way out of the office.

It isn't until we're waiting for the car from the valet that I realize they didn't take any blood; the pamphlets say that blood should be taken often but most definitely at the first prenatal appointment. "Shouldn't there have been some blood taken?" I put my phone away so I can slide behind the wheel for the drive back to work, totally surprised when she lets me.

"The nurses were ready for lunch so it was decided I'll go back."

"Okay. When will that be?"

"Does it matter?" The sharp edge to her tone has alarm bells going off in my head but I ignore them.

"Kinda, yeah."

"Why? It's not your blood they'll be taking."

I glance over at her, fully expecting her to be turned sideways in her seat so she can glare at me. But she's sitting stiffly facing forward. "I'd like to go to as many appointments as possible, that's why."

"This isn't an appointment. All I'll do is stop in one morning before I've had breakfast. They'll take a couple vials of blood and I'll be on my way."

"Alright, then. How about your next prenatal appointment?" I look over at her again.

Something is definitely off about her. For one, I've yet to see her touch her belly except to clean off the goop used for the ultrasound. For another, she seems almost angry for some reason. As I watch, a tear slowly makes its way down her cheek. And then it hits me. Everything she said to the nurses and the doctor now adds up: she doesn't want to have my child.

I keep sneaking glances as I drive and finally, when we're nearly home, I can't take it any longer. "Danni, look, um…" This is harder than I thought it would be. "I, uh, whatever you decide to do, I'll support you."

Her head whips around and she narrows her beautiful blue eyes on my face. "What did you just say to me?" Her voice is cold as ice.

I swallow thickly, beginning to fear for my life. "I know you don't want this child so whatever you decide, I'll stand by you."

"I don't-" She chokes on her anger. "Pull over."

"Are you going to be sick?"

"Just pull the fuck over!" She reaches over and grabs the wheel, turning it toward her which forces me to pull onto the shoulder.

She has her door open and is stepping from the car before I've brought it to a complete stop. I've always said that Danni is exquisite when angered and now is no exception. She paces angrily away from the car and I jump out after her after turning off the ignition and pocketing the keys.

"Danni, I don't know what to do. I'm thrilled about this baby but you're obviously not." I catch up to her and have to duck when she spins and throws her wicked right hook because I've learned from the last time she was this angry with me.

But of course I should have been paying a bit more attention because she's able to drop me like a stone with a left hook. Pain explodes behind my right eye and I know I'm going to have a black eye come tomorrow.

"I cannot believe you would say that to me! To me, of all people! You obviously don't know me at all."

I shake my head, trying to get rid of the double vision her punch has caused. Turning my head the slightest bit I can see her dancing around where I'm still on all fours. "'m sorry." I slowly get to my feet, feeling gently around my right cheekbone, wincing when I hit a sensitive spot. "But what am I supposed to think, huh?" I spread my arms out wide. "You were telling everyone at the doctor's office that you weren't sure if this was good news or not. And just now, in the car, you were angry at me and then I saw a tear slide down your cheek."

"I never said I don't want this baby."

I pace away from her lest I give in to the urge to shake some sense into her. "What other conclusion should I have come to? All those things put together tell me that you don't want to have my child."

"That's not-" She stops talking so fast I'm afraid I'll get whiplash.

When she doesn't continue, I approach where she's standing, staring at the ground. "Then what, Danni? Just talk to me! You're the one who puts so much stock in words. I'm here, I'm listening. Whatever it is, we can deal with it together. But not if you don't talk to me!"

"You have to understand!"

"I don't have to understand shit, Daniel! Especially if it has to do with that prick that sired Grace. I am not him and I am so sick and tired of defending myself against his mistakes." I pace away from her again hoping that by not looking at her she'll feel comfortable telling me whatever it is that has her so upset. When she doesn't say anything, I turn back. "Okay. I am done. You hear me. Done! You let me know what you decide to do about my child and we'll take it from there." I start toward the driver's side door but my name uttered on a barely audible sob stops me in my tracks.

I turn back to face her and have to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from rushing to her side and folding her into my embrace. "I thought I loved Stan and that he loved me back. He used to tell me all the time that he loved me. Until I got pregnant." She shakes her head and wraps her arms around herself. "Everything changed the instant the words were out of my mouth." She raises grief stricken eyes to mine. "In hindsight I should have chosen a more intimate setting to reveal the news but I was just so excited.

"I had never thought I'd have children. Oh, I've always wanted to be a mother but there had only ever been one man that I saw myself settling down with and we broke up in college. Despite what Stan thinks I did not start envisioning the two of us as a happily married couple. Would it have been nice if he had proposed?" She shrugs. "Maybe. I can't really say. Do I expect you to propose? No. And if you-" She points one finger at me. "-propose now I will refuse."

Danni takes a shuddering breath and looks away. "Stan called me a gold digger; said I got pregnant on purpose. He tried to get the courts to force me to take a paternity test before Grace was born and he filed for sole custody right away.

"Luckily my doctor was able to convince the court to wait until I delivered for the DNA test." She bites her lip and turns her back, her shoulders shaking as she sobs over Stan's treatment of her. "I knew that if we went to court he would use my job against me and could possibly deny me even visitation so I requested we go to a mediator. I was surprised when he agreed.

"My demands were simple: Grace carries the Williams name, she lived with me while I was nursing her because she needed to eat during the night and I would get every weekend plus four hours during the week along with every other Thanksgiving and Christmas, Spring Break and six weeks in the summer once she no longer needed the night feedings. I got everything except for every weekend. He refused to allow me that but gave me an additional four hours on my weeks without her."

I can't fight the urge to comfort her any longer and approach where she's standing to slip my arms around her waist. She immediately turns to bury her head in my chest. "I had her for a solid two months. At her two month check-up her doctor said she didn't need the night time feedings any more. I would have 'forgotten' to tell the court if Stan hadn't been at the appointment. He insisted on attending each one. I guess so I couldn't 'forget' to tell him something like that. He took her right then. Just buckled her back into her car seat, carried her out to his car and drove off. By the time I got to my apartment, his people had already removed all her things. Including all the breast milk I had stored in the freezer."

She takes another shuddering breath. "I had insisted on being allowed to continue to nurse her during the day so I was still able to see her. But I was only allowed to go to his house three times a day. I had been nursing her six to eight times and suddenly I was down to three." She tips her head back and rests her chin on my chest. "My milk dried up after two months and she never took to formula so he had to hire a wet nurse."

I cup her face in my palms and wipe her tears with my thumbs. "I would never do that to you. I love you. You are this child's mother and as such you are much more important than I. Especially during that all important first year."

She goes up on tip-toe to press a kiss to my lips. "I'm trying, Steve. Please be patient with me."

"So why haven't you even touched your belly?"

She buries her head in my chest again. "I guess I'm in denial. Twice now I've conceived while taking The Pill and using a condom."

"But you're happy, right? I mean, that you're having my baby?"

"Yes, Steven. I'm happy that I'm having your baby."

I bury my face in her hair and just breathe; trying to come to grips with everything I've learned today. Several minutes pass and I have to wonder what the passing cars must think of us standing here, embracing by the side of the road. I've just about got myself under enough control that I can safely drive us home when the whoop of a siren startles us. Danni just shifts closer but I look over at the radio car idling a few feet from where we're standing.

"Everything alright?" Duke leans out the passenger window and gives us both the once over.

"Yeah. Just making up from a nasty argument."

"Yeah, I can see that." He chuckles and points at his own right eye.

I shrug. "What can I say? I still haven't learned to duck."

"At least she'll keep you in line." Duke and I share a grin. "If you're sure you're okay…?"

I nod. "Yeah, we're fine."

"Okay, then. Best be getting on home. Looks like rain."

"Of course it does," Danni mutters into my chest. "It always rains in this God-forsaken, pineapple infested hellhole." I tighten my hold on her shoulders to let her know I heard her and she just butts her head against my sternum.

"Thanks, Duke. You take care, now."

"You, too, Steve. Danni." Danni still doesn't move from where she's trying to become one with me, instead she just waves her right hand. Duke taps the door of the car and his driver pulls back into the flow of traffic.

"Really? You're referring to the birthplace of your child, and its father, as a 'hellhole'?"

"Sorry. Old habits."

"Hm," I hum, turning so I can push her in the direction of the car. "Want to tell me why you were crying? I mean, if you're happy then why the tears? And don't try to tell me they were happy tears because I know they weren't."

"Oh, so now you know me better than I know myself?"

"Oh, c'mon! You weren't giving off happy to be pregnant vibes, here, Danni. I do know you well enough to know when you're happy."

Her shoulders slump. "You don't get it, okay?"

"So explain it to me. I swear I'm in this for the long haul. And before you say anything else, know that I think you're a great mother. My child is the luckiest kid in the world, after Grace of course, to have you for its mother. I will never take that from you. Ever."

Danni sighs and I realize that I really don't get it. Despite everything we've just said, I still do not fucking get it. And nothing I can say right now will convince her otherwise. Until she tells me what's wrong, that is.

She pulls open the door of the car and flops down into the passenger seat. "After Grace I swore that I'd never do this again."

"This being, having a kid out of wedlock?" She nods. I crouch down in the open door and rub circles on her right knee. "Yeah, well, life's what happens when you're busy making plans, ya know." She chuckles a little. "I love you. I love our child. I can't wait to raise it with you." I lean in and kiss her. When I pull back, her eyes are all soft and full of tears. "What? What'd I say?"

Her lower lip trembles and she shakes her head. "You're just too good, you know that?"

I give her a small smile before standing, walking around the front of the car to slide behind the wheel and continuing on our way home. The whole way I try to figure out just what it is I said that made her look at me like that and end up having to give up before I give myself a migraine.

Two days later we're holed up behind some shipping crates, taking fire from some scumbags that have taken exception to our trying to serve a warrant.

Watching as she pops up to take some shots at the assholes on the other side of the warehouse, I'm suddenly struck by just how much I love her. I make a decision and scoot back until our backs are touching.

"Hey, D?" I fire a few rounds around my corner of the crate.

She fires around her corner. "Yeah?"

"I love you." She snorts and I take it as her saying 'tell me something I don't know'. "I want to marry you."

I feel her turn to face me before her small hand tugs on my shoulder, forcing me to turn to face her. "I'm sorry, what?"

I grin at her. "I love you and want to marry you."

She rolls her eyes at me. "I cannot believe that this is the moment you pick for this! A woman only gets one proposal in her life. It should be perfect and romantic. Not during a fucking shoot-out!" She waves the hand not holding her gun.

I transfer my gun to my left hand and slip my right onto her belly under her vest. "When I look at you, I see our future; I see us as an old married couple surrounded by our children and their children. I want to be able to walk into a room, see you there and think 'that's my wife' and 'I'm taking her home tonight' and know that most of the people in the room are envious of me for having such a beautiful woman in my bed."

Her eyes go soft and well with tears. "You have got to stop that."

I frown in confusion. "Stop what?"

She laughs softly. "Stop making me fall even more in love with you." She leans forward and presses her lips to mine.

"Is that a yes?"

"Yes, that's a yes."

Sliding my hand around her waist, I pull her closer and deepen the kiss. A kiss that is interrupted by Chin clearing his throat before Kono says, "You know, if you two spent more time actually doing what you get paid to do and less time making out, maybe we wouldn't have had to come save your asses."

"You're just jealous because we're getting married and having a baby," Danni says, grinning up at the cousins.

"Naw, not jealous; excited!" Kono all but falls down on Danni, nuzzling her temple and giggling like a teenager.

Chin offers me a hand up. "So,-" He grins at me. "-a baby, huh?"

I shrug. "Yeah."

"You ready?"

Taking a deep breath I release it and answer honestly. "Not even a little. But-" I gaze fondly down at Danni and Kono cuddling on the floor while Kono rubs Danni's belly and coos at it. "-I have every reason in the world to be happy about it."

"That you do, brother. That you do." Chin slaps me on the back.

Part eight


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October 2017

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