And here's the long-awaited prequel to my fluffy-fluff one-shot "Acceptance". Enjoy~

Stage One: Issues

These occasions were so rare that some of his friends probably thought him incapable of them but it wasn't unheard of even for someone as big as Black Star to be completely engrossed in his musings for some extended periods of time.

They were, admittedly, few and far between; probably partly because they were usually very unpleasant and oftentimes depressing, dampening his shine, so he avoided mulling over the past like the plague.

But there were also times when his history caught up with him and made him reminiscence. And ponder…

Like that young family that had just passed by him on his way back from Shibusen. They were some food for thought, with their happy disposition and all that jazz that's important in a family. They'd looked so happy—mother, father and son.

His family had never been that happy, he reckoned.

His parents had probably been too busy pillaging and plundering to indulge in the small things in life like taking walks in busy cities. He never even knew his father or mother, or any of his many relatives since his father had been a big shot in the Star clan, but he wasn't sorry at all for it. He wouldn't have wanted to be raised to be a murderer and a damn monster that people even now accused him of being without even knowing him.

It was thanks to his folks' greed and avariciousness that he was hated now, before he'd even had a chance to say a word to anyone.

What kind of example would that kind of parents set for him? What would've become of Black Star if it hadn't been for Shibusen? He didn't even want to imagine—he was a man greater than God, he would never allow himself to step off the right path and trudge into the realm of the Kishin. He was better than that, stronger than that.

There were some days when he wondered though… Wondered if his family, amongst themselves, maybe would've maintained some sense of normality? Even villains have their reasons and even sometimes, some who love them.

What would his mother have been like?

What would his father have been like as a parent?

Would he have been caring and compassionate? From the stories Black Star heard about him, he really doubted that. During those rare times he allowed his mind to wander, he imagined his father to be strong and proud, a stern parent and a role model to look up to… when he wasn't slaughtering people for money, that was.

The young man stifled an ironic laugh. What was he doing, daydreaming about things that would never be and longing for monsters that were unbecoming of his high stature? If anyone found out about these moments of weakness of his, they'd laugh their heads off at best.

But it was true that he'd never had anyone to look up to, to be supported by when he had most needed it, when he'd been a rising star. He'd never had a father's stern grip on his shoulder to guide him onto the correct path until he could walk on his own, never been patted on the back for a job well done, or consoled when he'd been in despair. It was a miracle he'd turned out the way he did when he'd had to raise himself, Tsubaki had always insisted.

Yes, he was maybe impressive in that manner and he'd never pass a chance to boast to others about it. But frankly, thanks to him never having a father to use as a role model, Black Star feared fatherhood.

Yes, he would never, ever utter a word of that aloud because it was disgraceful and unheard of but he frankly did—that's why he insisted and made sure he and Tsubaki always used protection when they… ahem, not to get carried away. Anyway, he did not want to be a father because he was afraid of being a bad icon to his offspring—he was larger than life and greater than god but that did not automatically make him fit for raising a person.

What if he failed? What if he failed his child? What if he wasn't good enough yet to be a father? What if he wasn't just cut out for it?

Childish and immature as he was branded by his peers all his life, Black Star was sensible enough not to be willing to be the downfall of a young life, possibly full of potential that his kid might not realize because it had grown up in the wrong environment, with the wrong person at its side for a father figure.

There was no room for bloopers once you have decided you're responsible enough to raise a child, and Black Star was afraid that with his complete lack of expertise in the field and no way to gather any aside from just giving it a try, he would fail his son or daughter.

And that he wouldn't be able to live with.

So he would remain childless, so he wouldn't repeat the same mistake as his parents would've made with him and raised him into someone he would've never wanted to be. His family was large enough as it was for him, with him and Tsubaki together for so many years now. He didn't need another member to their family to be happy. They didn't need a kid to "fill that gap in their lives" the way Maka and Soul had.

He didn't want to or need to become a father. Fatherhood was for small people to deal with anyway—someone as big as him had a great many responsibilities to this world than raising brats. So, for the time being, he'd leave the most crucial of tasks to other people to fulfill while he lived a carefree adult life with his lovely partner.

Much more assured by his thoughts, the young man continued on home with a bounce to his step. He felt even bigger when he managed to deal with his problems on his own and his significant other was always so thrilled when she heard about his conquests of his own mind, claiming that the best way to greatness is to first conquer one's own fears. Not that he had any—besides that embarrassing one, but that one was a secret from everybody, so shh—but he did have stuff bothering him every once in a while and it felt so rewarding to deal with it on his own.

"Tsubaki, Tsubaki! Hey, Tsubaki, let's do something fun together tonight! I'm in a good mood and—What's wrong?"

His giddiness melted like ice in the merciless sun, his smile sliding off his face in seconds to turn into a worried frown when he found his lover sitting at their dinner table in their little kitchen, her gaze pinned to the polished wood of the piece of furniture.

She looked like she was fidgeting before he'd come in and she'd jumped about a whole foot from her seat when he'd barged in. This made him concern over what could've possibly made her as distressed. She'd always been a worrywart but it was rare to get her to this extreme…

"B-Black Star! Y-You're home! Welcome back!" The raven haired young woman didn't even stand from her place to greet him—another unusual thing for her. Politeness seemed to be part of her bloodstream and yet it was suppressed because of something else?

Just how out of control was the situation she'd got herself into?

"Yeah, didn't you hear me call to you from the hall?" His eyebrows knitted together when she only bit her lip and pinned her gaze to the table again. Avoiding eye contact? Did he do something? "What's wrong?"

She could've chuckled hadn't her nerves been as strained as a chord right then. This was just like him—always "what is wrong", never "is something wrong". He always knew, always felt her distress, no matter how well she hid it.

'Then… Hiding something this big would be…' she thought as her teeth sunk deeper into her lip and her heart quivered in her chest. There was no getting out of this one.

"A-Actually… there is… something I need to talk to you about," the young woman began, clutching whatever she had in her hands even tighter and playing with it between her fingers.

Black Star sat down and fixed his stern look on her.

"So, let's hear it—I'm all ears."

From his vantage point he could see her open and close her mouth for a minute or two, about to speak but unable to find her voice every time. This happened extremely rarely to them in their lives and every time it was excruciatingly painful to look at. He wanted to know what she had to tell him and he knew she wanted him to know too but Tsubaki was the kind of person who did not react well to being rushed or pushed in any way. So he had to keep completely, patiently silent while the love of his life looked like she was being slowly roasted on a spit over a wildfire.

Tsubaki, on the other hand, did not know where to start from. Was there even an easy way to break this kind of news? To Black Star, who always avoided this kind of subject, even though he did not make it obvious… How was she supposed to begin to tell him what she had to?

This was so unbearably difficult. She found a whole new reason to respect Maka-chan now…

"W-well… D-do you re-remember… three weeks ago, when I forgot to take my pill, after we-we…" She turned bright red at the remembrance. The boy smirked at the same memory and at his blushing and stuttering counterpart.

"Yeah, I remember." He had enough grace to wipe the lecherous look on his face before continuing. "You said it was okay, right?"

Her words died in her throat at that. She closed her mouth and swallowed dryly.

"Well, uh… Yes, it was… at the time…" She added the last part in her smallest of voices. "And, you know we always use protection even though I'm on the pill, just to make sure, right?"

He nodded cheerily, still completely oblivious to what she was getting at. Boy, he was making this even harder than it already was…

"Um… and… ummm…" She turned her navy blue eyes to the object she was holding in her lap. He wondered what it was. It looked like a pointer or something, hmm… Ah, right, concentration on the topic at hand now, right. "So … this month… I was late and… I thought I might make sure… just to be in the clear…"

That's about the time when she lost him. If she'd been looking at his face when she'd been talking, she would've known immediately and wouldn't have needed him interrupting her explanation to say,

"What do you mean you were late?"

She, of course, took the question the wrong way, supposing he had finally caught on.

"I'm sorry I didn't notice sooner! It had been only a week and a half, I thought it didn't matter, and just missing one pill, once, shouldn't have mattered but-but…!" She clenched her eyes tightly shut and clutched the object in her hands even tighter.

He wasn't taking this well—she should've expected as much. But she'd hoped he would've been more supportive than this…

Meanwhile, Black Star was absolutely dumb-founded.

"…Huh?! What?" He was incredibly close to letting his jaw hang open. But that would've been unbecoming of someone as big as him, so he resisted the urge. "First of all, what does "being late" even mean? Were you late for Death Scythe attendance or something? And what does that matter anyway? And furthermore, what does your pill have to do with lateness? I don't get a thing you're saying!"

For the first time in the last five minutes Tsubaki dared lift her eyes to gaze into her partner's and found in them only concerned frustration with his total befuddlement.

She sighed and shook her head.

She guessed there was just no point with trying to break stuff like that to someone as thick as Black Star the gentle way.

She should've just gone ahead and said it outright from the start.

"I mean that my period didn't come on time this month, Black Star."

He nodded his understanding this time, though not at all charmed with the subject suddenly brought up. He'd lived with a girl—this girl, his girl—practically his whole life, he was thoroughly familiar with the ins and outs of her body, and he was still uncomfortable with the issues of her femininity. Go figure.

"What of it, then? It will come next month."

She gave him a bittersweet smile. That's what you get for hooking up with someone who always ditched his biology classes in school.

"No, it won't," she assured him. He cocked a confused eyebrow at her.

"Is that pessimistic disposition the thing that has you all riled up?" She shook her head. The eyebrow rose even further towards his hair line. "It's not?"

"I was late so I took a test to make sure."

"…Test?" The question marks were practically materializing around his head in his total nonplus.

"It was positive." Her voice was getting grimmer and her sentences shorter and for some reason that set off the alarm bells in his mind even though he had no idea what the hell she was talking about and just where this conversation was going.

"Is… that a good thing?" he asked, uncertain.

She gave him another one of those chilling sad smiles of hers. He immediately made up his mind that he didn't care much for them and would be completely content with his life if he never had to see another one of them on her face ever again.

"To some, probably."


"Black Star, I…" Her heart was hammering against her chest and robbing her of her breath and strength to speak. But she had to say it, now, when he was there, when she had the confidence, when she had the guts to do it.

She took a deep, steadying breath, forcing herself to look into his emerald coloured orbs. He cocked his head to the side at her in confusion. His eyes were still so big and innocent and young… Would the two of them, he and her, make it through this? She couldn't help but ponder…

No point stalling any further. She could do this. A clean break—like ripping a bandage from a wound.

A clean break. Right.

"Black Star, I'm pregnant."

He still had that confused expression on his face even after she said that.

So she simplified.

"We're going to have a child."

Still no recognition dawning on his face.

How dense was this man anyway?

"You're going to be a father."

It was only after she'd said that too that Tsubaki realized that it wasn't as if he hadn't understood her from the first sentence.

It was just that he had completely ceased to think, blink, breathe, anything after she'd said it.

And Tsubaki was just as oblivious to the frantic thoughts that were running through her loved one's head as he had been just a moment before with the topic of their conversation.

He… Black Star… The last of the Star clan… The son of a bunch of murderers and thieves and monsters

He… was going to be father?

… … …

Well, fuck

Good-bye, care-free adult life?

A/N: (Note that in Black Star's narrative, he turns to God, even though he claims to have surpassed Him. It's there for a reason – so you can realize just how desperate and shocked he is.)

And that's it for the first chapter. :D I'm not entirely too sure that this is how Black Star would take the idea of becoming a dad, but it was a notion worth exploring in a story. Don't worry - I have it all figured out~ Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it and that you'd let me know if you want to see the rest of it. I'd appreciate the interest and it would definitely make me come out with the chapters quicker.