I know I've done babyfics before and I know they're somewhat cliched but my muse has went wandering, work is God awful and this idea popped into my head and I just can't help myself.
Genetic dead end. The words circled around her head, tormenting her, and try as she might Jackie couldn't just forget them, couldn't just push them to one side as she would have in the past. It was akin to having someone rub salt in a wound she decided. During this case she'd had to face the one issue she'd been trying so hard to ignore, and that was whether or not she wanted children.
Years ago she would never once have thought that this would be an issue for her, she'd been part of a big family and as a result she'd always firmly believed that she would head down that route herself. She'd never once thought she'd be on the wrong side of forty and completely alone. Her chance to have a child quickly slipping away from her, like sand filtering through an hour glass.
She'd always assumed that she would be married when she got pregnant, but times were changing and the perfect relationship wasn't about to drop into her lap, and did she even really need it to? She had a good home, a good job and more than enough savings. As for the baby not having a father, that was true but they would have male figures in their life, her brothers, her father and she knew that they would never see any child of hers deprived in anyway.
This case had showed her that she didn't need to wait –not that she really had the time to wait anyway – that if she knew what she wanted then she should just go and get it. After all she didn't rely on a man in any other aspect of her life, why should she change that?
It was time for her to consider other options. After all a relationship could follow in the future, but could she really keep holding on, waiting for it to magically appear?
"Right that's me packed." Robbie's voice cut through her thoughts, and she turned to see him walk into the living room, stretching slightly as he did so. "So I'll be out of your hair soon." He dropped down on her sofa and asked with a small grin, "Do you want to order some food first? Or do you want me out now?"
She couldn't help but smile. "I suppose I could put up with you for a little while longer, if of course you're paying."
"Think I can stretch to that. I fancy Chinese tonight, you?"
"Sounds good, as long as you remember the prawn crackers."
Robbie rolled his eyes good naturedly. "I forgot one time, are you ever going to forget it?"
"Of course not." She got to her feet, her hand brushing over his shoulder as she walked past him. "If you order I'll get some wine out."
"I do love it when a plan comes together," he grinned, reaching for Jackie's house phone and flinging his legs up onto her sofa.
"We're not eating it through here," she reminded him, pausing in the doorway to do so, "so don't get too comfortable."
"Uh huh," he mumbled and she knew he wasn't listening as he tucked the phone between his ear and chin and picked up the paper, flicking through the sports section.
Jackie shook her head in exasperation, it was like talking to a brick wall at times, it really was. It was strange though, despite some of his irritating habits she'd enjoyed having him around the house, was glad of the company in fact. That being said, if he left his wet towels on her bathroom floor one time she might use them to throttle him.
Taking another sip of the red wine Jackie had poured them, Robbie watched her carefully, she was quiet tonight and he didn't like it. He hadn't heard everything that that lunatic doctor had said to her, but he'd seen the expression on her face as he'd said it and he knew that he had managed to hit a sore spot. "You're quiet tonight," he commented finally.
She gave a small half shrug as she replied, "Just thinking, that's all"
His lip gave a small curl. "That sounds unpleasant."
"I imagine for you it is," she answered quickly, "thankfully not all of us are burdened in that way."
"Well you certainly don't look like you're having fun. Want to talk about it?"
"It's not about what that nutter said, is it? Because you should just ignore him."
"Easy for you to say," she mumbled, taking a fortifying gulp of her wince before concluding, "He didn't say it about you."
"He was trying to get to you."
"And it worked, he managed it." She ran her finger over her around the rim of her wine glass for a moment, her head slightly fuzzy from the wine, loosening her tongue as she added unthinkingly, "Anyway it's better that he said it, because he was right."
"He was," Robbie echoed unsurely, he wasn't sure if he liked the way this conversation was headed. "What was he right about?"
"I need to make a decision and I need to follow through on it."
"Ok...and what's the decision?"
Jackie took a deep breath, steeling herself before replying, "I'm going to have a baby."
Robbie choked on the wine he'd chosen that particular moment to take a drink of. "Sorry," he spluttered, wiping the corner of his mouth with his hand. "I just wasn't expecting that." He nudged Jackie's glass away from her hand adding on a slight laugh, "I think you might have had too much to drink."
"I haven't had too much to drink," she retorted indignantly. "I've thought this through, it's not just something that I've decided tonight."
"Jackie, I hate to point out the obvious but you're missing one vital thing."
Her lips thinned. "I would have thought that considering the time we spent at that clinic even you would have realised that being in a relationship isn't the only way to have a baby."
"Maybe not but it's the best way."
"Says who? You were married when you had Jamie, you're not meant to be able to get more of a stable background than that for having a child and when was the last time you saw him?"
"Ok so my marriage didn't work out but at least I gave it a shot, and I might not see the most of Jamie but at least he knows he has a dad he can come to if he needs me, this kid won't even have that to start with! Jackie you're upset and you're not thinking straight."
"I am, I've waited for years, waiting for the right time to have a family. I waited until I had a steady career, I waited until I got married, I waited so that Brian and I could work through the problems we were having, wanting to wait until I was in a completely stable relationship and I'm still waiting! What if it never happens? Or if the right guy comes along but in ten years time? I don't have ten years, Robbie." She leaned back in her chair, shaking her head at him. "I probably don't have five."
Robbie swallowed heavily, she did have a point, the clock was ticking but he didn't want to hear these words coming out of her mouth. "Seriously, you want to have a baby with a sperm donor after this case? Your kid could end up with a double murderer for a father," he joked weakly.
Her lips curled into a smile. "You always tell me I have bad taste in men."
"You've yet to have that bad."
"I'll be careful about who I pick."
"Doesn't mean someone won't switch the samples, or they could just end up using the wrong one by mistake," Robbie pointed out. He didn't like this, the idea of Jackie being tied to some stranger for the rest of her life, of having some stranger's baby, of having anyone's baby. He rubbed his temples with the tips of his fingers, he didn't want to linger on why this was bothering him as much as it was. "You might not get what you thought you were going to."
"I don't want a perfect specimen," Jackie replied, sighing in exasperation. "What I want is a baby."
"And what are you going to do when this kid wants to know why they don't have a dad?"
"Tell them the truth, it's not going to be that unusual in a few years time."
"It might not be unusual but what if all this mucking about with nature has side effects?"
"Not like you to think about the morality of things," she replied archly.
Robbie rolled his eyes. "I meant that some of these techniques are pretty new, how do you know that they won't have side effects that don't show up right away."
"Look I know it's not the ideal way to have baby and yes I'd prefer to do it the old fashioned way, and yes I'd prefer any child of mine to have at least the chance to have a father but I don't think I can afford to wait much longer for that to happen."
"What about money? These treatments are expensive and then there's the cost of raising a kid to think about."
"I have it."
"Jackie our salaries might be enough for you to just about manage childcare and all the crap kids need over the years but it's not going to cover all this fancy fertility stuff."
"My salary might not but hopefully my savings will. I won't use all of them of course but I...I looked into it and half of my savings will stretch to about four cycles of IVF. I'm hoping that will be enough."
"Have you been doing dodgy dealings on the side?" Robbie asked jokingly.
"I don't gamble," she replied, smiling cheekily, that same smile fading as she added, "Brian left me money, this probably isn't what he had in mind for it though."
"No, probably not," he agreed and despite hating this conversation he wanted to make her feel better he told her, "But he did give you the choice."
Her smile brightened again. "Exactly and this is my choice, and it means should everything work then you don't need to worry about me being on the breadline."
"Still," he sighed irritably, his arguments weren't hitting the mark but he wasn't going to just stop trying. "What are you going to tell people at work?"
"Nothing, they don't have to know."
"You told me," he pointed out.
"You're my friend, I thought you'd be more supportive."
"You want me to be supportive?"
"I'd prefer it."
"Fine, I'll do it," he told her, the words out before he'd really had a chance to think them through.
Her brow creased. "What? Be more supportive?"
"Well yeah but that's not what I meant." The idea was forming in his head and the more he thought about it the more it made sense – to him. "I'll be the father."
Jackie laughed, she couldn't help it. "I think that you're the one who's had too much to drink."
"Not had any more than you."
"I've thought through what I want to do, and that's without the benefit of alcohol," she pointed out.
"I have thought this through. This way you can save yourself a fortune on IVF, we can take as long as it takes, you don't have to limit yourself to four attempts. The kid has a dad that they know-"
"Robbie," Jackie interrupted him suddenly. "That sounds even more complicated, us having a baby together is just insane, what would we tell people?"
"Nothing. Look I know I'm not great at being a dad, but I can be Uncle Robbie if you'd prefer and you...we can tell them when they're older, if that's what you want. And we're friends so I was going to be around it anyway."
"It?" She echoed dangerously.
"Sorry, had you named it already?"
"Shut up," she laughed, throwing a screwed up sheet of kitchen roll at him.
"Stop interrupting and I'll be serious," he teased before turning solemn again and leaning forward, trying again to convince her. "Look, at least this way you know the father, the baby can know me, they can know their family history the big things and the little things. You don't get that from a test tube."
"And what if you want more? I know I said I wanted this baby to have a father but I don't want to shuttle them backwards and forwards all the time."
"Won't happen, I know my limits, Jacks, I'm better at the fun, superficial stuff, but this could work, I know it could."
Her head tilted to the side. "Why do you want to do this?"
He paused before answering. He wanted to do this because if he did then even if he didn't do the whole doting dad thing he'd still be part of Jackie's life, they'd be tied together. If she had some stranger's baby...he just didn't like that idea, hated it in fact. That wouldn't cut it as an answer though and he knew it wouldn't. "Because you're serious about this and this is the best solution,"
"Not if we meet other people."
"It's not really any more complicated than most of the baggage people our age have."
Her nose wrinkled," It is a bit."
"More complicated than months of invasive treatments that might not work or having to explain why you decided to use a donor. Whereas you can just tell him we have had a drunk one night stand if you want. No one else would ever need to know I was the dad but I'd be here if you needed me."
"And you'd want to do this the...natural way?"
His mouth quirked," Uh huh, makes sense and it's cheaper."
"This better not just be a ploy to get me into bed," she warned him.
"Boy scouts honour."
"You were never a boy scout," she snorted.
"The sentiment's the same."
"Is it hell."
"You sound like you're thinking about this," he told her, a cocky smile sneaking across his face.
"You do have a few good points," she replied grudgingly. "But I'm not just going to agree right now and drag you to bed. I want you to really think about this, without the wine...or any other form of alcohol-"
"I'll say the same thing."
"I still won't just jump into bed with you. No offence Robbie but you've done the rounds a fair few times, so if we're going to do this then you're going for an STD check."
His mouth almost fell open. "Charming," he murmured.
Jackie laughed, she couldn't help it, the expression on his face was priceless. "I'm sorry but this isn't just one of your one night stands, we have to have rules, and while you're sleeping with me then you won't be screwing around, if you wanted out so you could do that then fine, you just say."
"Won't change my mind," Robbie replied. "Although I reserve the right to make this fun."
Her smile widened. "I'm not banning fun, I just want us to be safe as well."
"Ok, so we're doing this then?"
"We're talking about it. You might wake up tomorrow, back in your own flat and regret this entire conversation-"
"So might you."
"So let's just hold off for a few days, let the idea settle."
"Yeah well don't wait too long, you're not getting any younger," he reminded her, trying and failing to hide his grin.