Title: The Beginning and The End
Season/Episode: Two, Post The Hollow Man, but before Epitaph Two.
Spoilers: Both season one and two, including Epitaph Two.
Warnings: Adult Language, Adult Situations
Disclaimer: Dollhouse is the property of Twentieth Century Fox and other large companies. I am in no way connected to these companies, and I gain no profit from this fanfic.
Summary: The beginning of a new life signals the end of a relationship.
The pain started out as a sharp twinge, no worse than cramps. As she knelt in the garden she thought that maybe she had pulled something, or that it was another false alarm. Yet when she felt warm moisture soak her legs and spread across her skirts, she knew that it was time.
"Are you sure that you're ready for this?" Tony asked, his breath harsh and his hands roaming over her back.
Priya felt momentary confusion. She was no shy virgin, even before she had entered the Dollhouse. Then she remembered that he knew about Nolan's abuse of her, and she gave him a reassuring smile.
"I am very—" She kissed his mouth. "—very—" She pushed him back on the bed. "—sure that I am ready for this."
The pain was more intense now. Deep aches and sharp stabs that filled her. Adelle and Echo helped her into the bedroom and started to prepare her.
"You're lucky." Echo said, washing her hands in a basin.
"How?" Priya cried as Adelle helped her into a loose nightgown.
Echo tapped her head with a grin. "One of them was a midwife."
Priya paused and gave Adelle a raised eyebrow. "Why would someone spend that much money on a Doll midwife?"
The ex-Dollhouse head gave her a small, lady like shrug. "One of our more unusual requests, but they paid quite well.
"Be glad that we are not on a snowy mountaintop." Echo added.
Another contraction started. "No, it is so much better to be in—"
"—a goddamn apocalypse!" Tony exclaimed. "We are in the middle of an apocalypse, Priya, and you are telling me that you're…you're…"
"Pregnant, Tony." Priya finished. "With your child."
"This is not the time to start a family."
Priya placed her arms around her slightly distended abdomen. He was right, of course. And they were in the middle of everything by running Safe Haven. But if there was any place to have a family it was here, far, far away from any technology.
"It might not be the time, but it is happening."
Tony sat down on the bed. "So you're having it?"
She rubbed her abdomen and sat down next to him. She stayed silent for a long time, and he let her. Her thoughts were a jumble, mixed with many emotions that were uncomfortable and not entirely welcome. Finally, she began to speak.
"I-It is a part of me. And…I can't have another part of me taken away."
Tony nodded, his face sympathetic. It was obvious he understood, even if he didn't agree. Their situations were different. He had willingly joined the Dollhouse. She had been forced against her will. She had forced against her will to do many things.
"I would never ask you to give up something like that." He said, wrapping his arms around her. But the arms were stiff.
"I never thought that I would witness something like this." Adelle said quietly, handing Priya a cool cloth. The laboring woman wiped her face and she paced the length of the room.
"A birth? It's not exactly riveting entertainment." Priya replied.
"No, I meant one of my Active's giving birth. Even more so with it being the child of two Actives." She explained, her voice holding a hint of pride.
Priya felt a flash of anger. "We are not your Actives anymore."
Adelle slowly took the cloth from Priya's hands and re-wet it. "I know that. Regardless, this child will be truly unique." She handed the cloth back to her.
Priya took it and nodded. "It will be unique…it will fit right in."
Adelle nodded, and was silent.
"It's been two months." Priya growled, hanging a sheet on the clothes line. "He's not coming back."
Ivy, the newly arrived ex-programmer for the LA Dollhouse sighed. "He will be back. He loves you. We all saw it."
"I know. Victor and Sierra fell in love, and no matter how hard everyone tried to erase it, it would not go away. A love story for the ages." Priya angrily muttered. She picked up a towel to hang, but ended up twisting it in her hands. "But Sierra wasn't stupid enough to get pregnant."
"Well she couldn't have, even if she knew what sex was. All the Actives were on birth control because of the romantic—" Ivy cut off when she saw the glare Priya was giving her. "Just remember, he loves you. Truly, at the deepest level, loves you. He didn't leave you for good."
Priya nodded, hating her churning emotions and the fact that they were not just caused by pregnancy hormones.
"Uh, I have something to do elsewhere." Ivy suddenly stammered. Priya turned to look at what had caused the outburst and saw Tony slowly walking into the back yard.
She dropped the towel and hurried up to him.
"Where have you—"
But then she saw it. The USB flash drives on a cord around his neck. The small triangles embedded in the side of his head.
"No." She whispered.
Tony held out his hands. "Priya—"
She took a step back. This wasn't happening. It couldn't be happening. "No!"
"Priya, please listen—"
"I couldn't sit and do nothing anymore." Tony pleaded. Or was he still Tony?
"So you go and become a fucking tech head?"
"I'm a soldier. I'm about to be a father. I have to take an active role in protecting my family." His voice more intense than she had ever heard.
"You did take an active role. You were an Active. You helped bring down Rossum." She countered.
"But that didn't end it. Look around you, Priya. Look how you are living because the war is still going on!" He shouted. "I want…I need to protect my family from it."
Priya stared at him for a long time. She stared at the face that she loved now marred by the tech she loathed.
"Then you can do it somewhere else. You're not welcome here."
With that last statement she clutched her hands under her eight month pregnant belly and walked into the house.
The pain was so intense that she thought she would die. A part of her wished for it. Loud moans filled the room, and she was vaguely surprised that they were coming from her.
"Get it out of me. Please." She begged.
"It's almost time. Don't worry." Echo reassured from the foot of the bed.
There was a knock on the bedroom door. Adelle answered it, and a moment later Tony entered the room.
"What are you doing here? Get out!" Priya yelled and then let out a sob as another contraction overwhelmed her.
"I asked Ivy to contact me when the time came. I wasn't going to miss the birth of my child." He responded.
"Only Tony. Nobody else." She stated, giving him a long, hard look.
"It's just me in here. Nobody else." He agreed, tossing his USB necklace on a table.
"Well alright then. Let's get this thing born." She gestured to Tony. "Take a leg." She looked at Priya. "And you can start pushing."
An hour later, Anthony Tsetsang-Ceccoli was born.
Priya awoke to find Tony sitting on the foot of the bed. He was holding his son and was softly speaking to him. Priya smiled at the image, but then she saw the implants, and her heart constricted.
"He's so small." Tony said in a louder voice.
"Not as small as he seems." She replied, sitting up.
"Are you alright?"
"No." She replied, her tone letting him know that she wasn't talking about the birth.
"I can't quit."
"Why not?" She had hoped, oh how she had hoped, that once he saw his baby he would change his mind and stay with them. That they would be a family.
"This is why." He motioned with the baby. "He's so fragile, so innocent."
"Exactly. He is fragile and innocent and he doesn't need the danger of a tech head around him. He needs to be kept away from all of that."
Away from everything that had ruined her life.
The baby made a fussing noise and squirmed. Tony softly spoke to him, patting his back.
But the technology had given her Anthony and her son. And then taken Tony away.
"Please." She whispered.
Tony closed his eyes and bowed his head. "I can't until the war is over."
"Then you need to leave." She stated, blinking back tears.
Tony nodded and lowered his head. He placed a kiss on the baby's forehead, and then stood. Priya held out her arms for their son.
"He can never know." Tony said.
"Don't…tell him about me." His voice broke and he cleared his throat. "Never tell him about me. About what I am."
Priya nodded, the tears falling freely. He set the newborn in her arms and walked away. Picking up the USB necklace from the table, he put it on and walked out of the room.
Priya clutched her son, surprised that there was something that could hurt more than giving birth.