A/N: Holy Moses, people. It's been over two months since I've posted a thing, and aside from holiday mayhem that ended ages ago, I have no excuse. Well, except for the show treading insufferable water and taking our ship precisely nowhere. That's a bit of a muse killer. Still, I should have rallied. Anywho, I'll start with a continuation of Late, Research, Yours, Livid, Implacable, Truculent and Desperate. Grace takes their news public. Please show me you've missed me by reviewing. I've dearly missed reviews.
Grace felt a bizarre sense of calm as her statement filled Lisbon's office.
The boss didn't answer immediately, merely stared at her young agent, her eyes widening fractionally as she processed this rather interesting piece of information. Grace let her. She surprised herself, actually. Grace had imagined she would have filled the next few minutes with gallons of explanation and questions about her fate. She'd been pretty sure that one declarative statement wouldn't have felt like enough, like she needed to bombard her superior with assurances and pleas for understanding. Instead, she simply waited.
Lisbon seemed to need the time.
At last, she exhaled softly. "You're sure?" she asked quietly.
Grace nodded. "I'm in my fourteenth week," she replied. She felt no need to hide the truth. Indeed, she strangely hoped Lisbon would do the math.
Did she ever. Grace watched as Lisbon's sharp mind did some quick subtraction and took her pregnancy back to the month of conception.
Lisbon's brow arched slightly.
Grace felt a faint smile cross her own lips. She gave nothing away in it.
Lisbon let the knowledge sit between them unspoken before finally asking, "Is there anything else you'd like to tell me? Anything I should be made aware of?"
Grace held her gaze. "Is there anything specific you'd like to know?" she countered evenly.
With that, Lisbon smirked. Shifting her eyes, she let her sights fall behind Grace to the bullpen beyond her glass wall. Grace felt her watching him. Felt the wheels turning in her boss's head as she gazed at the father of her child.
"Tell me he knows. Tell me I won't have a 220 pound man freaking out in my unit when he discovers you're pregnant through an email update."
Grace bit her lip. There it was. Out there for her to confirm or deny with the next breath she took. She inhaled.
Lisbon looked back at Grace, her eyes battling between questioningly hard and acceptingly soft.
Grace steered her towards her greatest worry. "What will you do with us?"
It was Lisbon's turn to bite her lip. "I don't know. I guess I need to know if you've been together this entire time."
"No," Grace answered immediately. "We have not."
Lisbon squinted, sensing wiggle room in her answer. "Are you together now? Now that he knows?"
It was this that dragged Grace's eyes to the floor. Lisbon knew before she spoke, it was that clear.
"He won't leave me," Grace replied vaguely. "He's made that clear."
"Agent Van Pelt," Lisbon spoke with more authority, "are you involved in a sexual relationship with a unit member? Again?"
Grace cringed at the last word. She pursed her mouth, defiance simmering in her expression. "I'm in a sexual relationship with the father of my baby."
She didn't know why, but that answer made her feel slightly less guilty. She wasn't about to let Lisbon turn this into a simple question of canoodling co-workers. No way in hell. He wasn't just a unit member, nor was he a casual office fuck that she was nailing in the copy room after hours. He was her match. Her perfect match. And their bond was now sealed, sanctified by the miracle of life they'd made together. And yes, she made love to him. It strengthened that bond each time she touched him.
She lifted her eyes and gave them to Lisbon. Let her do her worst.
"Why isn't he in here with you?"
Grace tilted her chin as more self-righteousness filled her. "Because this is about me. I won't have him punished for something he had no control over. The baby is mine. I'm keeping it. Over the next few months, I'll become unfit for fieldwork. After that, I'll need maternity leave. Hence, I'm informing my superior."
Lisbon snorted, angry and pleased at her agent's brass. "He has plenty of control over sleeping with you. Just like he'll have absolutely zero control when it'll come to watching his pregnant lover get sent into potentially dangerous situations. Don't waltz into my office and tell me he's blameless or unaffected in all this, Van Pelt. It's insulting."
Grace's chest tightened, her former calm all but obliterated. "Please," she said quietly. "Please don't separate us. I came in here alone, he doesn't even know that I'm speaking with you." She turned her head and looked back at his seated form at his desk. Oblivious, he answered his phone as she watched.
Lisbon sighed and sat back heavily. Her faux leather chair hissed as the air squeezed out of the upholstery. "I'll have to tell Hightower. Her word will decide and I doubt she'll look kindly on keeping you both. You've broken the rules again, and now there's a child involved."
Grace cursed the tears welling up in her throat. She and Wayne had already discussed this as a probable outcome, yet hearing the words, so much like an indictment of their relationship, still frightened her.
"Then let me speak to her," she requested. "Let me make my case."
Lisbon's brow arched for the second time.
"Oh, she'll insist on that. But I guarantee that when you make your case, she'll demand that Rigsby be sitting next to you."