Disclaimer: I don't own MIOBI or these characters, and I'm not making any money off of this story.

A/N: I desperately need a break from studying and I'm in the mood to post something, so here you go. The first chapter of the new story. AU in that Emily is still around.


"Sasha?"

He didn't like the sound of Kaylie's voice. That, coupled with the fact that she was willingly in his office, meant that trouble was brewing. He sighed. They were too close to the Olympics for this crap. "Yes?"

Kaylie bit her lip nervously. "Payson's locked herself in the bathroom and she won't come out. She's kind of freaking us out."

"Shit." Thinking back over the morning, Payson had come in early but never started training. He'd been busy working with Austin and hadn't noticed at the time, but that meant she had probably been in the bathroom for over an hour now. "I'll go check on her."

He was just standing from his chair when Summer spoke. "Sasha, maybe I should go. If she's upset she might respond better to another woman."

"No offense, Summer, but she doesn't even like you." Okay, maybe that was offensive anyway, but he didn't particularly care if he offended Summer right now. "If she's upset then you are the last person who should be talking to her. Excuse me."

He moved past her and made his way through the gym to the bathrooms. He could hear soft sounds of crying coming through the door, which sent his worry level through the roof. Payson almost never cried in the gym. She usually balled up her emotions until she got home. He knocked on the door and called, "Payson, it's me. Open the door."

"Go away, Sasha," she yelled back, sobs punctuating her words.

"Payson, you're scaring me and you're scaring your friends. I've known you for a long time you've never acted like this before. If you don't open the door, I'm going to break it down."

He heard movement inside and the lock clicked. When he pushed inside she was leaning against the wall by the door and immediately reached behind him to turn the lock again. Her face was puffy from crying and she was shaking. She moved away from him and sank against the opposite wall, where he suspected she had been crouching for the last hour.

"Payson, what's wrong?" The word 'upset' didn't do justice to how she looked. 'Devastated' worked better.

Instead of answering she nodded toward the sink. He walked over to where she had indicated and swore under his breath. Lying in the sink was the last thing he ever wanted to see for any of his elite gymnasts, much less for Payson: a positive pregnancy test. "Damnit, Payson, how did this even happen?"

"The normal way. I had sex. I got pregnant." This was not the time for sarcasm, but he couldn't blame her, either. Sarcasm was probably the only thing holding her together right now.

"What were you thinking?" He asked, trying not to sound accusatory. She knew what a huge mistake she made; she didn't need him to point it out for her.

"I wasn't thinking. I was drunk, I barely even knew what I was doing."

He felt his heart sink. "Payson…"

He didn't think he could even finish the sentence, so he was glad when she didn't need him to ask. They'd always been able to understand each other without words. "You don't have to worry, Sasha. He didn't force me. I was an active participant." She put a self-derisive spin on the word. "Anyway, he didn't know what he was doing, either. He blacked out afterward, and I don't think he even knows we had sex. I mean, I'm sure he knows he had sex with somebody, but I don't think he knows it was me."

He winced at her all-too-blunt ramblings but refused to let it get to him. "Payson, I don't understand how this happened. You never drink."

"Yeah, that's me. I don't drink, I don't have sex, and yet here I am." She laughed a little. It was disturbing. "It's ironic, right? I was always the voice of reason, the one telling the girls not to focus on boys, but I'm the one who got knocked up. You know, I lost my virginity in almost the exact same context as Lauren did; at a party, drunk, with a guy who didn't love me. But at least Lauren was sober enough to use a goddamn condom."

Sasha would gladly go through the pain of busting his knee again rather than have this conversation. It was bad enough to listen to Payson talk about things like losing her virginity, but he was also obligated to ask the hard questions. "If you had unprotected sex, have you thought about the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases?"

"I went to the health clinic and got tested. I already knew he was clean anyway, though, so it was really just a precaution." She slapped both palms against the floor in anger. "This isn't supposed to happen, damnit! I don't even get my fucking period because my body chemistry is so screwed up, so how is it that I can get pregnant? Is there some god up there that just thinks it's funny to fuck with me? First with my back, and then I claw my way back on top only to wind up losing it all anyway."

Sasha came to sit beside her against the wall and wrapped one arm around her shoulders. "You don't have to lose it all, Payson."

"I've considered the options already, Sasha. Even if I get an abortion I'm out. The Olympics start in three weeks. If I have to take two of those weeks off, the NGO will replace me. It doesn't matter that I'm the National Champion or the reigning World Champion, they aren't going to take the risk of putting up someone who isn't well practiced." Earlier her voice had taken on a hysterical tinge, but now she just sounded hopeless.

"When did it happen?" This was his only hope.

Confusion was written across her face. She clearly didn't understand his line of thinking, but she answered anyway. "The last night in St. Louis. I was celebrating my win and things got out of hand."

"Clearly," he said, snorting. He immediately regretted it; he could feel her tense beneath his arm. "That puts you at eight and a half, nine weeks during the finals, right? You won't be showing yet."

She turned to face him, her tears temporarily stopped while shock took over. "You cannot possibly be suggesting what I think you're suggesting."

He was. "Hide it. You can get an abortion afterward, there will still be time. The NGO doesn't have to know anything."

"What if I get sick or dizzy or something? What happens then?"

"The alternates are there for a reason, Pay. If you can't compete then you step down, but at least you'll have tried." He put as much conviction in his voice as possible. If she missed the Olympics she would regret it for the rest of her life, and he didn't want her to have to live with that. She had worked too hard to let one drunken night ruin it all for her.

Then she asked a question that shocked him even more than seeing the pregnancy test had. "Do you think there is any chance that I could compete and still have the baby?"

The hope in her voice struck him momentarily speechless. It hadn't occurred to him that she would want to keep the baby, no matter what the circumstances. Finally he asked, "Is that what you want?"

She nodded slowly. He sighed and answered, "I don't know, maybe. Gymnastics is a hard sport, it's hard on the body. You'd have to ask a doctor to know for sure. Is this… is this a risk you want to take? Do you want to keep doing gymnastics if it could harm the baby?"

She nodded again. "I'm going to the Olympics. I guess I'm just hoping I can have both."

"Okay." He reached up with his thumb and brushed the tear tracks from her face. Then he said, "We don't have to tell the NGO, but you need to tell your parents, and you need to tell the father. You can't keep this a secret, not if there is even the slightest chance that you'll keep the baby. They need to know."

She looked terrified but agreed. He stood and pulled her to her feet, then shouldered the gym bag that was on the floor beside her. "Wash your face," he told her, "and then you're going home. Tell your parents, get your emotions under control, and come back Monday ready to train. We'll deal with this together, okay?"

She put her game face on and followed his directions. After she washed the tears from her face, although there was nothing to be done about her bloodshot eyes, she reached into the gym bag that he was holding and pulled out a small box. It was the package for the pregnancy test; she slipped the test back inside and zipped it into her bag. She answered his unasked question, "The last thing I need is for Lauren of Kaylie to find a pregnancy test in the trash can and put two and two together. The other girls can't know."

He didn't question her judgment about the girls. Instead, he laid his hand between her shoulder blades and urged her toward the exit. Before he unlocked the bolted door, he stopped and turned to Payson. "Just so you know, if I ever find out who he is, I'm going to kill him."

"Don't, Sasha. Just, please, don't."

"It shouldn't have been that way for you, Pay. You shouldn't have been a one night stand."

She closed her eyes and breathed deep, then compromised, "When you find out who he is, just give him a chance, okay? I don't know what to expect, so if he's an ass about it you can kill him, but if not then you leave him alone."

He nodded his agreement and then unlocked the door and led them back through the gym.


A/N: Hmm… who's the father? Any guesses?

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