~Chapter 9~

~Chiaki's POV~

I had managed to scoop up the unconscious Jeanne and take off before the police could comprehend what was going on. No wonder she had missed her target of the top of the building... She weighed much more than she used to. I suspected she weighed around twenty pounds more. But I knew that a ton of weight was packed on to support and incubate both mother and child.

Jeanne was completely limp in my arms. She would have no memories of what happened. I just hoped Fin wouldn't tell her. This girl, who was so precious to me, the girl whom I held so dear to my heart, was scared of my alter-ego. I refused to believe why, but a nagging feeling kept telling me I was to blame for her pregnancy and her fear. But I would never do such a horrible and brutal thing...

Once I knew I we were a safe distance from the police, I gently set her down on the grass. When I was able to get close enough to her, she really did look like an angel. Her blonde hair was like a halo... In my eyes she was perfect. No matter how terrified of me she had become.

She was still out cold, and she definitely wouldn't be waking any time soon. It would be awhile before she would so much as twitch, which meant I had plenty of time to just sit with her and bask in her company. She would likely kill me for this if she was awake, but...I couldn't help myself... I put a hand over her stomach. It was hard to the touch, nothing like I imagined it to be. I smiled as I conjured up and image of a little bump under my hand, vanishing just as soon as it appeared. Somehow, with my hand on her belly, I found it much easier to imagine a little life in there kicking me. I had never wanted kids, but...seeing her, knowing she was carrying the most precious gift anyone could receive, I didn't mind being a father. Of course, I hadn't sired this child, but it wasn't her fault she got pregnant.

In fact, I was so overwhelmed with joy and happiness that I found myself talking to her unborn child. I hardly knew what I was saying. Just things like, "Hi, there." and, "I bet you'll be so cute when you're born!" It was embarrassing, really. But I was alone right now. It was my private time with Jeanne and her baby. It might seem strange, but I felt so honored and privileged to be part of this special moment. And I had taken so much pride in the fact that I had protected what already felt like my family. I felt fulfilled that I had rescued her. And I found myself eager to know whether it was a boy or a girl, and I just couldn't wait until the moment it was born, when I would get to see it up close, when I would get to hold it and hear it mumble its first little baby sounds.

I couldn't resist. I leaned down and kissed Jeanne's stomach. I loved the baby so much. I never thought I could love anything this much. Never even thought it was possible to harbor this much pure love for something that I couldn't see or feel or hear. But I knew what it was, and I knew where it was. And I knew that it was going to be birthed by a kind, loving, gentle person.

"Sinbad!" Access exclaimed, obviously having been watching the whole time. Obviously having seen everything I'd been doing. And saying...

I shot my head up and met him eye to eye. "I...uh..."

"She's going to kill you if she finds out about this..." he warned in a nonchalant tone.

I sighed in relief, having previously thought he was going to tease me for being so fond of Jeanne's baby. "Don't worry, she's out cold." I couldn't help but smile under the cloth that covered my mouth. It was still clear I was smiling though. That white cloth wasn't hiding anything. "Besides, I couldn't help myself."

"I know you love her... But for her sake, you can't be doing this. Maybe it's okay right now, because she's obviously not waking up anytime soon, but don't get into a habit of-"

"I know," I interrupted. "It's just this once."

He sighed. He opened his mouth to say something, but froze when he looked into the tree Jeanne was leaning against.

Fin alighted on the ground beside me. I expected her to try to wake Jeanne up, but she didn't. I expected her to beat the crap out of Access, but she didn't. I expected her to yell at us for being so close to Jeanne...but she didn't.

"Thank you for helping her," she said softly.

We both relaxed when she said that.

"Why is she pregnant? And who's the father?" Fin suddenly asked, much louder this time. She didn't mean to be loud, she was just worried for her friend. She only wanted to know what was going on, that was all.

I glanced at Jeanne's swollen stomach. I had noticed that the swelling wouldn't go down. I didn't know why. At first I'd suspected it was from the hit she endured. But when the lump on her stomach just kept growing, I started to suspect she might have been with child. But I didn't say anything, just in case I was wrong. However, when she decided to consult a gynecologist, I somehow knew. I wanted to believe I was wrong about the whole thing, so I still didn't say anything to her. But when I saw the little blob on the ultrasound, and a very tiny throb inside of it, I knew I was right and my my doubts were no more.

I sighed, knowing this was going to be very hard on her. There was no way she could keep this up. But she would keep trying, no matter how dangerous things got. That was just how she was, stubborn as a mule. I knew how much being a Kaitou meant to her. But she had to snap out of it and realize that she wasn't going to win with a growing belly. And what would she do when the baby started moving? When it started kicking? It would be extremely uncomfortable and there was just no way she would be able to ignore it. It would distract her, something she couldn't afford when she was facing both the police and the demon. She wouldn't stay flexible forever. But no matter what, she would keep trying. She would keep going at no matter what happened.

And it wasn't just her. I had to find a way to protect her without being seen. And I highly doubted she would keep fainting to let me do that. This time I'd been lucky, but next time could be very different. I wished she would trust me, at least enough to help her. I knew she wouldn't, though. It would be tough for me, but I would have no choice but to continuously find ways to help her out or come to her aid if needed. I had no clue how I was going to keep pulling this off.

But for now, at least, she was safe from any harm. I was here, Access was here, and Fin was here. I had two scouts and myself to act as her shield. Because if she got caught, she would be thrown in jail, pregnant or not. And for all the items she'd "stolen" and for all the times she'd resisted police, she would be there for quite awhile. And if she got caught, she would be forced to give birth in jail. They would take the baby from her. And she would die emotionally. She would never see that child again, she would never know where it was or what had become of it.

But the father of that same child...it couldn't be me, right? So who was it? Iinchou had been possessed twice already, and each time he'd gone after Maron in hopes of winning her love by force. Could a demon have possessed him for a third time? Was it possible that he was the father? ...No. Jeanne had to be ten times stronger than him, and even if empowered by the demon, she was more agile than he or the demon could ever hope to be. It would be too easy to evade him, especially given that she wasn't pregnant yet. So who was it? Who was strong enough to take her down?

I was. I was much stronger than her in many ways, and she'd managed to match my strength with her agility. But that was just it. I had the strength to overpower her. But...but even though I was strong enough to take her down, that didn't mean I would. I would never use my strength against her unless it was required to protect her. If I had done that to her...if I was the father...and if I was using my strength to protect her... No! There was no possible way rape would be an option of protection! I wouldn't and couldn't have done it! No matter how many doubts I had about this, it wasn't me!

But that still left me with the question of who had gotten her pregnant. And it still left me with the question of who, setting aside myself, was capable of combating Jeanne's superior agility. Not to mention her intelligence. She had a plan for everything and always expected the unexpected. She was so vigilant and cautious... It seemed impossible to that she would have let herself be reduced to this level. I knew very well that anything was possible, but it was so unlikely that she would've let her guard down. It seemed so unreal, like it just couldn't have happened even though I knew it had.

What had happened that night? I'd only been able to see part of what happened. Even though I got the point, I wanted to know everything. Her head was bleeding at the beginning of my dream, which could only mean there was more to it. There was more she had suffered, and I didn't know what. I didn't know, and it was killing me! But I also didn't want to pressure her into talking about it. She wouldn't want to relive that moment.

"Someone answer me!" Fin demanded, bringing me out of my thoughts. "One of you has to know, otherwise Sinbad wouldn't have stayed here. Tell me why she woke up every night screaming 'Don't touch me!' Tell me why she locked me out all those times! Tell me why she's never been herself since that one night she tried to seal a demon!"

"I-I don't really know that much.." I said truthfully. I knew she was raped, but that was all. I couldn't answer the Jun-Tenshi's questions.

She nodded to me, but quickly after turned to Access. "Then you have to answer me, Access! I want to know what's going on and I know you have the answers I'm looking for!"

Access froze, his eyes soon brimming with tears. "I...I'm sorry...I don't...I don't want to..."

Fin growled and screamed, "I don't care if you don't want to! Jeanne has had me worried sick for months, Access! MONTHS! You will tell me everything! NOW, ACCESS!"

The Kuro-Tenshi backed off a little ways and looked away from Fin.

"ACCESS!" she screeched. "YOU BETTER-"

"Okay!" he interrupted. "The father is Sinbad..."

Fin stayed very silent, probably not knowing what to think or say.

But I knew what to say. I stood up in my own defense, saying, "It's not me! I would never, ever-"

"But you did! And you are the father!" he shouted. "See, I'm not sure whether she told you this or not, but it all started when she was about to seal a demon... Jeanne was on the rooftop of a building, already holding up her pin. You arrived right then, and right when you and I arrived, the demon switched its target. It was determined to stop Jeanne this time, so its new target was you, Sinbad. Right when she was about to throw the pin, you tackled her to the ground. And...what came next... I should've tried to stop you, but...I couldn't! I was too horrified..."

He wouldn't continue.

"Access, what did I do? You need to tell me what I did!" I said.

He looked at me. I'd never seen him cry until now.

"Access, was my dream true? Did I really do all that to her?" I asked, secretly begging him to tell me it wasn't true.

He sniffled and replied, "I never thought you would remember anything, and I didn't want to hurt you by telling you... But now she's pregnant, and I can't keep anything a secret anymore... But to answer your question, yes. I'm sure I know what dream you're talking about. It wasn't just a dream, it was a flashback. Everything in that dream happened... That's why Jeanne freaked out when she saw you at the construction site. That's why she's so scared of you now. She thinks you're evil, and she's scared you'll do it again. And to answer another question, I was the one who sealed the demon who possessed you. I hadn't given you the pin yet, so I was still carrying it. After you ran off, I dropped the pin on the demon and sealed it. When I found you, you had no memory of what happened. So I tried to keep it a secret..."

And now that she was pregnant, the obvious question was, who was the father? As much as I wanted to slap him away and say he was lying, that it wasn't true, that I had done nothing of the sort, I couldn't. Deep down I knew what he told me was true. And it suddenly made sense why she had instantly become so terrified of Sinbad. Now I had even more reason to keep my identity a secret from her. She couldn't know that Chiaki was Sinbad. She relied on Chiaki, trusted Chiaki. And I could never be able to bring myself to tell her. She wouldn't believe me if I told her what Access had just told me. Like Access said, she thought I was evil and would do it again. But if I tried to explain what really happened, that a demon had possessed me at the last second, she would never believe it.

"Sinbad...what exactly did you do to her?" Fin asked, strangely quiet. Almost timidly. Almost as if she already knew.

"I...I..." Well, I couldn't find the right words. What was I supposed to tell her? That I had made Jeanne suffer the most brutal, gruesome rape in the history of rapes? That I had not only gotten her pregnant, but had beaten her to a pulp before trying to finish her off? That I had been the one who had given her all those horrible nightmares and bruises? I couldn't tell Fin anything. I was too ashamed, for one, and she would be hurt so badly... Fin had done nothing wrong. She had worried for her friend's safety. Fin was Maron's family, the only one Maron had to love and take care of. And Fin had, in turn, taken care of Maron.

I just couldn't tell her what had really happened...

I looked to Access for help, but he was busy crying his eyes out as he remembered all that had happened.

"I'm sorry, Fin," I said, "but I can't tell you. You'll have to get Jeanne to tell you."

~Maron's POV~

I woke up and, remembering the police, jumped into a defensive stance. But there was no one there. Had the police released me into...what looked like a park? Probably. Or maybe not... I wasn't really sure. The police were kind of...persistent. Especially with Miyako around. And what became of the demon? I had passed out, so... Sinbad would surely have sealed it by now. I had failed, but only this once. I wouldn't make the same mistake of dangling by a single hand off the roof of a building ever again. But my weight gain made it hard to pinpoint exactly where I would land. The rebound ball couldn't be used. At least not until I gave birth to this baby and made sure it found a good home with kind people to care for it.

Maybe I should put Kaitou Jeanne aside. At least for the next six months. It was too hard to seal demons like this. But if Sinbad and Access got the demons... Oh...I just couldn't let the human race be destroyed! I really had let them get enough demons already anyway. I might as well learn how to move around. Perhaps practicing rythmatic gymnastics would help. The knowledge and flexibility sure came in handy when I was "stealing" something. And I really needed to get back in shape. Not to mention figure out some new moves or strategies...something! Ugh. This baby was causing me so much trouble, and it wasn't even born yet! I sighed, knowing I would have to expect a long and hard road ahead of me.