Author's Note: Well, what can I say? This little plot-bunny was clogging up the next chapter of Three Parts Dead. I have toyed around with the idea of Tris and Tobias having a baby, but I just have a really hard time thinking Tobias would be over-the-moon about it if it happened accidentally. But the only way to get it out of my head was to write it, so here you go. If I continue this I promise to give you a happy ending because I'm sappy for fictional babies :)
And a special Thank You to jandjsalmon and Wee Kraken who very graciously beta'd this.
"How's Tris?" Zeke asks as he sets down the plateful of lunch he's got in one hand and the daughter he's got in the other. Most days Tobias gets a side order of toddler babble and the occasional tearful tantrum with his meals in addition to his best friend.
"Fine," Tobias says around a mouthful of hamburger, more interested in making a funny face at Zoey than answering the desultory question.
"What was wrong with her?"
Tobias' eyes snap up, suddenly interested. "What are you talking about?"
"She fainted at work this morning... Uriah took her to the infirmary... any of this ringing a bell?" Zeke reels off, eyebrows inching higher with each statement, a look of disbelief on his face.
For a second Tobias sits there with his mouth gaping, and then he's up and out the door like a shot. Zeke shakes his head, hopes they have an empty bed in the infirmary for Uriah considering the ass kicking he's surely going to get.
Zoey takes advantage of her daddy's distraction, decides lunch would be a lot more interesting if she played with it first. "What are you doing kid? Those are mashed potatoes, not Play-Doh," he sighs. He can't help smiling back when she grins up at him devilishly.
The walk through the Pit gives Tobias enough time to build up into a towering temper. When he bursts through the swinging doors of the infirmary and comes face-to-face with Uriah he's ready to rip the swizzle stick he's got hanging from his mouth out and shove it up his nose.
"You forget to tell me something?" Tobias seethes, getting right in his face.
Tobias would have been jealous of Uriah, but his relationship with Tris has always been so clearly that of siblings it made the idea laughably absurd. Uriah though, was more infuriating than Caleb ever was, especially when he tried to interfere like he knew Tris better than Tobias did.
"Where is she?"
Uriah puts down the cup of coffee he's holding, freeing his hands in case he needs both of them. "She shouldn't have to give up anything to be with you," he says coldly. He doesn't miss the confusion in Tobias' eyes, though it does nothing to quell the hostility filling the air between them.
Before it can come to blows Uriah pushes his way past walks out; Tris doesn't need her boyfriend and her best friend getting into a fist fight after the morning she's had.
It takes another five minutes and two nurses to track down Tris. The sight of Tris in a hospital bed, looking clammy and pale, is like a punch to Tobias' gut; the concern he left at the lunch table hitting him full force now. "What's wrong with her?" He chokes out.
The nurse next to him rolls her eyes. "Nothing. She's pregnant." When the stricken look on his face only intensifies she backs out the room and closes the door softly because clearly, everything is wrong.
Tobias collapses into a chair, head in his hands. Really it's the only thing to do when your world spins off it's axis. He is at least thankful Tris is out cold and therefore unable to bear witness to his silent breakdown. Of course if she was awake he'd probably be screaming at her, lashing out in fear. And he is afraid, terrified, more than he's ever been in his life.
At least until Uriah's words come floating back to him, bringing the meager handful of conversations he and Tris had about kids with them. They'd all ended in his saying 'someday, maybe' and really meaning 'no', and her nodding in agreement in a vague sort of way. But he didn't miss the times she looked at Zoey like she was trying to imagine her with deep blue eyes and dirty blonde hair when she thought no one was looking.
And though Tobias would never admit to anyone he is panic stricken at the idea that if it comes down to him or the baby, he wouldn't be Tris' choice. And it's that more than anything that makes his decision. He reaches out, lays a hand across her stomach, acknowledging his fears and then pushing them away, ignoring them like he has always done.
The future doesn't look very bright, but then again it didn't when they were both locked up in Erudite, and they survived that. And if they can survive that, they can survive a baby, he hopes.
There's a weak smile that doesn't reach Tobias' eyes when Tris stirs awake. It's gone as soon as her tears start. By the time he's sitting on the bed with his arms wrapped around her the floodgates are open and she's sobbing into his shirt, apologies spilling past her lips.
The knowledge that she had probably forbidden Uriah from telling him anything because she was afraid of his reaction eats away at him, so when she hiccups the last of her tears away and whispers, 'what are we going to do?' he's feeling guilty as shit.
"Do you want to keep it?"
She's quiet for so long Tobias would think she has passed out again if she wasn't trembling against him. "Yes," she says finally.
He kisses the top of her head, rubs a soothing hand up her back. "Then we'll keep it."
"You're not okay with this," she says tremulously.
"No. But I will be."
So far the exhaustion is the worst part of being pregnant. A creeping thing that pounces sometime around mid-afternoon and doesn't let Tris go until it's sated the next morning. More than once she's fallen asleep with her head bowed over her desk, random memo's stuck to her cheek when she snaps awake.
There is a little morning sickness, but that has more to do with certain scents making her gag than anything else. As long as she doesn't smell vinegar or coffee or rotting trash her breakfast stays in her stomach. And there is the nice upshot that she is finally developing some curves.
But it's Christina who first floats the idea that maybe her constant need for sleep is her bodies way of dealing with stress. Even if Tris will never admit to it, Christina's Candor-trained eyes are enough to see that her best friend is far from happy.
Of course years of Dauntless and war have made her realize bold-faced honesty isn't always the best way to make your point. "You know you've had beef stew for lunch every day for like, three weeks," she points out.
"It's the only thing that sounds good," Tris shrugs, taking a bite between figuratively pushing paper across her desk.
"Maybe your body just needs the protein and iron, so that's why you're craving it all the time."
"Maybe." Tris is barely paying attention; the message she's composing to Johanna explaining that she will no longer be the liaison between Dauntless and Amity taking up most of it.
"It could be why you're sleeping all the time too. Stress would hurt the baby, so your body just shuts down, protects itself."
"What is thatsupposed to mean?" Tris snaps, finally diverted from the task at hand.
"I'm just saying... Tobias hasn't exactly been enthusiastic and I can tell it's affecting you, that's all."
Tris glares at her for a second and turns back to her letter, fingers pounding on the keyboard with unwonted force.
It is true that the silence that has settled between her and Tobias since they found out she was pregnant is weighing on her, worrying her really because he has disappeared behind the self-protective walls she thought he had knocked down since Marcus died.
She feels alone. Alone and scared of what the future holds and that is smothering the happiness she should be feeling. But she isn't going to talk to Christina about it. Talking about it makes it hurt, makes it real in a way she'd been hiding from.
"Is he going with you to the doctor tomorrow?"
"I didn't ask him to."
"It's your first prenatal visit, Tris. He should go."
Tris sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose because the whole conversation is giving her a headache. "Either he's stressing me out or he's not. If it's going to hurt more than help why do you think he should go?"
"Because you shouldn't have to do this alone. It's his baby too, and he needs to step up."
"It's so much more complicated than that, Christina."
"No, it's really not," she scoffs. She wants to tell Tris that Tobias isn't the first kid to be beat up and beat down by his parents. She wants to tell her that using it as an excuse to be a jerk is cowardly, that letting it affect his girlfriend and unborn child is just continuing the cycle of abuse. She wants to tell her that he should know neglect is just as damaging as a belt or a fist.
But sometimes the only way you can tell someone something is by letting them figure it out themselves. So instead she clears away the dirty plates and leaves Tris with a cup of yogurt for later and a promise that she'll go to the doctor with her if Tobias won't.
Tris doesn't bother telling Tobias about the doctors appointment, despite Christina's meddling. The only reason he knows about it at all is because he saw it jotted down in her day-planner. It felt like a slap in the face. She is keeping secrets again, just like she did after killing Will and almost dying.
And seeing that appointment written in Tris' spiky hand - something she had no intention of telling him about - made the first conversation he had with Evelyn after her 'death' come back with perfect clarity. When she begged Tobias to let her back in, to be a family again, he told her that was a luxury she forfeited when she left him with a monster. As he walked away her sobs echoed harshly off the rusting hunks of metal in the railyard, chasing him out and begging him to return at the same time.
Knowing that he isn't treating Tris much better by never mentioning the baby and finding every excuse to work late and rise early makes him desperate to make it up to her. So when she walks through the door of the Infirmary, followed closely by Christina, he is waiting for her.
Tris stops dead in her tracks, shock crossing her face before she shoots her friend a suspicious glare. "I had nothing to do with this," Christina says hastily, holding her hands up in surrender.
There's an awkward moment where none of them are quite sure what to do, broken only when Tobias cautiously wraps an arm around Tris' narrow shoulders and guides her to a chair, an errant 'thank you' thrown over his shoulder to Christina that's more dismissal than anything else.
"What are you doing here, Tobias?" Tris murmurs as she starts flipping through the pages of paperwork she has to fill out.
"I can leave, if you want."
She doesn't lift her face from the clipboard in her lap, but he can see her eyes tighten in pain. "I want you to be here because you want to be here."
She spares him an incredulous glance and starts scribbling out her medical history.
Contrition has never been his forte, but he's willing to give it a try because he is at least self-aware enough to know he's earned her skepticism over the last few weeks. He gently pulls the clipboard out from under her hand, forcing her to look at him. "I want to be here, for both of you."
His apology is cut short by a stern looking nurse calling Tris to an exam room. He's not sure if he's allowed to go with her, but he follows her all the same. If nothing else being one of his faction's leaders should grant him admission.
The nurse is coolly efficient, professional, and it soothes the jitters Tris is feeling. Once she's been measured and weighed, blood pressure and temperature noted, and medical history collected the nurse leaves her with instructions to put on the paper top and skirt so the doctor can give her a pelvic exam along with her physical.
"Can you... wait outside?" Tris asks, embarrassment flushing her cheeks. "I don't want you to be here for this," she says from behind her hand. The idea of Tobias being within fifty feet of her while she's got a doctor feeling up the most intimate parts of her is mortifying. "You can come back in once the physical is over. Just... trust me, you don't want to see this."
He bites back the sarcastic retort that he's probably more familiar with those parts of her than she is, and withdraws to wait patiently in the hallway. Ten minutes after a matronly looking doctor goes into the room the door cracks open and she calls him back in. The door shuts with a nearly inaudible click.
"I'm Dr. Gonzales," she says, shaking his hand as he sits down next to the exam table.
"So, do you have any questions for me?" She looks up from where she's squirting jelly on Tris' abdomen. "Most first time dad's do."
He swallows thickly. It's the first time someone's called him a father, and he has to fight the urge to flee. His mouth is dry and his tongue is swollen, but he does have one question. "She doesn't look pregnant." At the look Tris gives him he's quick to defend himself, but all he does is dig himself deeper into the hole. "What? You don't. I thought you'd be... bigger."
The doctor gives a little laugh. "Well, let's see how far along she is before we talk about that."
The room goes silent as she runs the plastic wand back and forth over the barely-there bump pushing up between Tris' hips. Lines of shadow and light fill the small computer screen next to the exam table, and a tense minute later they get their first look at the baby.
Tris holds a shaking hand over her mouth, the other clutched firmly in Tobias'. Neither of them remember reaching for the other, but they do. A few taps on the keyboard and a small printer spits out of a picture of what's on the screen.
"She's nine weeks along. She won't gain much weight in your first trimester, maybe five pounds." He hears himself thank the doctor, too focused on the picture Tris is now holding in her free hand.
"Is it a boy or a girl?" Tris asks.
"We won't know that for a few more months. The baby is only a few inches long right now; we can't see details until it gets bigger. The nurse will be in, in a few minutes to draw blood for testing," she says as she stands up, peeling off her latex gloves with a snap. "If you have any questions don't hesitate to come see me."
For the first time in weeks Tobias isn't consumed by fear and doubt, and the anger they bring with them. He walked down to the infirmary weighed down by dread, but now he feels light, happy. It's an unexpected emotion, and once Tris' blood is drawn and she's redressed he smiles at her for the first time in weeks. All those dark things are still there, circling and ready to strike, but the conflict raging inside of him has been drowned out, at least for an afternoon anyway.