Disclaimer: Cha. I wish.
Summary: Companion fic to Raid. Looks like Wanda might not need those tampons for quite a while...nine months to be exact.
"What in the world is this?" demanded Brandt. He and Aaron were rummaging through the bags of items I bought from the last store. They ignored the box of tampons for the most part; only the tiniest of grimaces betrayed their disgust. But the other items in the bag bewildered them: a jar of pickles, a jar of honey mustard and a jar of spicy, authentic Mexican salsa.
"Were any of these on the list?" Jared asked, equally bewildered.
"No," I answered. "Those were just a few personal items." I reached toward the back seat and pulled the bag to me, opening the jar of salsa first. The pungent smell reached my nostrils and I sighed contentedly. It was pure heaven.
"Hungry?" Ian asked with a smile. My heart started thumping a million miles a minute at the sight, but my body was used to it now.
"Yep," I answered with my own grin. I then proceeded to open the jar of honey mustard and pour it in with the salsa.
Noises of disgust echoed through the back of the van. "What the hell are you doing, Wanda?"
"Eating," I replied simply. When the jar was about to overflow, I opened the jar of pickles and used one of them to mix the sauces properly. Then I took a bite of the salsa/mustard-covered pickle.
"Wanda! What the hell!" Melanie shouted. "What is wrong with you?"
I knew it must have looked disgusting. In fact, I was a little disgusted with the picture myself. But I had been craving something sour, spicy and sweet all at the same time and it seemed like a good idea when I was in the store. And besides, it wasn't very disgusting. In fact, it was rather tasty.
"I don't know," I said in answer to my sister's question. "But it's not as bad as it looks." I dipped the pickle into the mixture again and held it out to her. "Do you want to try?"
The retching from the back answered that question for me.
We stopped at a hotel when night descended upon the desert. We reserved one room while Aaron and Brandt stayed in the car. They, much like Kyle, were far too wary to sleep in enemy territory, and staying in the van was much more comfortable for them.
When we checked into the room, I immediately picked up the phone. Though the pickles, mustard and salsa had only been two hours ago, I was hungry once again.
"Hello?" a pleasant voice asked.
"Hello, is this room service?"
"Yes it is."
"I would like to place an order for a Colorado omelet and a hot fudge sundae." I turned the receiver away from my mouth and looked expectantly at my companions. "Would you guys like to order anything?"
They glanced over the menu and gave me their orders. After I finished listing it for the server on the other end, she told me very cheerfully that it would be served to the room in twenty minutes.
"Thank you," I said before placing the handset back onto the phone. My stomach let out an immediate growl and twenty minutes suddenly felt like a very long time.
"Wow, Wanda," Jared said with an amused glance. "Is Kyle rubbing off on you or something?"
I shook my head. "No. I just wanted an omelet and a hot fudge sundae."
When the food finally arrived, I dug into the omelet first. I started cutting it into pieces and dipping it (salsa and all) into the hot fudge pooled around the ice cream. The other three watched in fascination and disgust as I ate.
"How can that possibly be any good?" Melanie demanded.
Truthfully, I couldn't tell her. All I knew was that the strange combination filled some kind of gnawing ache in my stomach and satisfied my taste buds more than I could explain.
"I don't know," I answered. "It just is. Do you want to try for yourself?"
She grimaced in response and I laughed.
As I went to bed that night, curled up in Ian's arms, I thought of the strange cravings that overtook me everyday. I knew what caused them—I just didn't know how to break it to the person who needed to know the most. I was still having trouble believing myself.
It happened a couple of weeks ago. I was in the kitchen with Lucina, boiling the onion soup. The soup isn't exactly the most appetizing thing in the world and it has been known to cause nausea on one or two occasions. But that day, I couldn't stand to be anywhere near it. The smell was overwhelming and my stomach churned at the sight. When I couldn't take it anywhere, I bolted away from the hot stones and grabbed a water bucket from the corner of the room.
Lucina was with me seconds later, holding back my hair as my breakfast made a break for freedom. When I was finished, I pushed the bucket away and groaned. "Are you all right?" she asked, her tone dripping with concern.
"I don't know," I answered, my eyes slowly sliding closed. "I think I may be sick."
I felt a hand underneath my chin forcing me to look upward. I opened my eyes and saw Lucina staring deep into mine and marveled briefly at the complete turn around in our relationship. Months ago, she wouldn't even look in my direction, much less hold my hair back while I retched.
Then her face broke into a wide smile. "You're pregnant."
It felt like she had socked me in the stomach—luckily it was empty.
Or was it?
When her words finally sunk into my stunned brain, I made a grab for my flat belly and grasped the skin, as if trying to determine if there was something underneath it.
"How do you know?" I whispered.
"I can just tell," she said, her expression turning knowing and sage. "Call it a mother's intuition."
I pressed my palm against my belly, but this time I did feel something. It was small, practically miniscule, but it was there, right above my hips. It was the tiniest spot of warmth that radiated through my entire body. It felt like I swallowed a hot stone and it settled in the bottom of my stomach.
Pregnant. I was pregnant.
As I lay there, I took Ian's sleeping hands and placed them at the bottom of my belly. The spot of warmth had grown bigger since the initial discovery and now I could feel a faint throb if I concentrated hard enough.
A child with Ian…the picture I witnessed when I was still in Melanie's body, with the alien parents and the human child came to mind. It was the perfect picture of hope and joy. Would Ian be happy? Would he be as terrified as Jared of raising a child in the midst of this miserable war?
"Wanda," Ian mumbled.
I turned my head to see if he had awoken, but his eyes were still closed and his breathing still heavy. Unconsciously he pulled me closer to his body, his hands still spread across my lower belly. And in that moment, I knew. Ian would be ecstatic by my news. He would be as happy and full of joy as I was. He was a good man—the best—and he would be a wonderful father. I drifted to sleep with that happy image in mind.
The next day, I bought a spray can of cheese and whipped cream. The rest of the raiders watched again in horror as I sprayed them both directly into my mouth—at the same time.
"My mom ate whipped cream straight from the can once," Melanie said as I savored the creamy flavors. Her face looked like it was torn between exasperation, disgust, and amusement. "But she was pregnant, so she had an excuse."
My heart thumped, but I grinned widely. "Yeah. Pregnancy is pretty crazy." I reached for Ian sitting next to me in the backseat and wove my fingers into his.
Jared was driving, but he shot me a funny look from the rearview mirror. "How would you know?"
I shrugged, but shot Melanie a knowing smile. After sharing thoughts for so long, we had the ability to silently communicate. I knew what she was thinking at any given moment and vice versa. In that moment, she knew exactly what I was trying to say.
"OH MY GOD!" she screeched. "NO WAY!"
Everyone in the car jumped in surprise. "What the hell?" Aaron demanded. "What in the world is wrong with you?"
But she ignored them, her intense brown eyes focused on me. "WANDA, ARE YOU PREGNANT?"
"What?" Ian gasped.
I turned to the man sitting next to him and smiled widely. "Yes," I told him, though he had not asked the original question.
He had been stunned speechless. When he overcame his initial shock, the only word he could choke out was, "How?"
Aaron rolled his eyes. "Well you see, Ian, when a man and a woman love each other very much—"
"I had morning sickness a couple of weeks ago when I was boiling soup with Lucina," I answered. "She took one look at me and she knew." Sudden doubt clenched my insides. Would he really be fine with this? I was certain last night, but now I wasn't so sure. "Is that okay?"
After a few more moments of stunned silence, abrupt joy washed over Ian's features and my heart soared at the sight. And without saying a word, he pulled me closer to him and kissed me with fierce happiness. I kissed him fervently back, allowing him to see the depth of my own exuberance.
He finally answered the question when he pulled away. "It's more than okay, Wanda." Then he kissed me again, slower this time but with the same amount of bliss.
"Okay, we get it, you're happy," Brandt called from the back of the seat. "Can you avoid consummation in the car, please? She's already pregnant, the damage is already done."
We ignored him, staring deeply into each other's eyes. His hands cupped both sides of my face and his beautiful blue eyes alight with happiness. The memory of the happy couple with their human child in the park came to mind, but this time it was replaced with Ian and me and a child with beautiful gold hair and deep blue eyes. That scene of hope would be ours, and nothing could take it away.
Melanie sighed from the front seat in her own contentment. "I'm going to be an aunt," she crowed happily.
A/N - I was bored and the idea came to me like herpes. I think it's super cute and it was originally meant to be a one-shot, but I might write a little more. However, I'll only write more if people are willing to read it. So leave me a review if you want to see more!