Pairing/Character: Josie (Josie/Steve & Will).
Summary: She literally floated through her pregnancy.
Spoilers/Warnings: Set pre-movie, but contains spoilers.
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine, and I make no profit from this fan fiction.
Notes: With thanks to silvercaladan and kultiras for their beta reading, all idiocies are mine.
Josie always knew that Will was going to be a flyer.
She didn't get much morning sickness - people always asked about it and seemed a little dubious about her answer. But there wasn't even a hint of nausea when she was flying, despite turns and flips that ignored gravity and its laws. Not that she got to fly as Jetstream for long after they found out.
It took a week after the doctor's confirmation and the ensuing celebration for one realization about what was going to change to hit home. It wasn't covered in any of the books full of advice about pregnancy that Josie started buying and getting. This was a Stronghold special.
One night, Steve sat her down at the kitchen table, cleared after a quiet dinner, when they'd both been abstracted. He took his glasses off, paced, then brought a chair closer to hers, sat down on it and made her listen to him list all the known supervillains out there, their powers and weaponry, a litany of dangers and death rays. She started tapping her fingers against the table, creating a rhythm of I-know-this, I-know-this, I-do.
"I can't protect you from all this," he said sadly, laying his hands over hers, stilling them. "Anything might happen. Jetstream has to power down for the duration."
Sitting straight and unmoving, wanting to say other things, she pointed out, "This is emotional blackmail." But he was completely sincere, and right, even if he put it clumsily. Not that there would ever have been any easy way of telling her that she had to take a break from what she'd been training for since high school.
She pulled away and left him in the kitchen. It was a long night of Josie moving things from room to room in a parody of clearing out, just so that she could slam doors. Steve knew better than to offer to help. But, even with all the activity, she was forced to imagine herself in flight as Jetstream, to think about all the dangers she'd faced and would face if she flew back out there. She wasn't even near-invincible like Steve, just really zippy. If an emergency arose that night, only a thin layer of fabric and herself would protect the baby. Unless she carried Steve in front of her all the time, and that'd be a tactical error, like bulking up the uniform. Opponents would know she was somehow vulnerable and natural disasters wouldn't care.
The next morning, when she went down to make breakfast, Josie found Steve in the kitchen, trying to help out, but not sure of himself. She knew that a lot of that was because he wasn't sure if she was even talking to him, because she'd come to bed long after he'd fallen asleep, exhausted from having used up so much nervous energy. So Josie smiled, "Good morning.'' And it was easier than she'd thought it would be at 3.30 a.m.
"Am I forgiven?" He held the bottle of milk as awkwardly as he asked the question.
"Let's say I accept your point, but you're not getting any syrup on anything this morning." He actually gave up syrup all through her pregnancy, while Josie's eating habits barely changed, she had no cravings for anything new or weird, just a hunger for enough for two.
Jetstream's temporary grounding meant that there was a lot of time to fill. Josie decided to take it as an opportunity. She guessed that some of it was the nesting drive, although she'd had plans to redecorate the secret sanctum so that its origins as a basement were completely forgotten ever since they'd first seen the house. Once that and the nursery were done, she set about upgrading her computers and installing state of the art gadgetry and tech. She even got a prototype headset for Steve to wear to communicate with her when The Commander was out saving Maxville. It was meant to be durable. Of course, he broke it. And all its replacements, bringing them back with a puppy-dog look on his face.
Other times, he'd bring back his trophies - parts of armor or weapons he'd taken off his opponents. Josie had made sure that they had the equipment available for her to take them apart, analyze them and catalog them to her curiosity's content. Then Steve got to display them. The way he insisted on doing that always amused her, because the whole idea of the secret sanctum was that no one else could get in. Not his father, no one. So who else would see their triumphs, or even the odd award that they'd received?
She asked Steve once, not caustically. He didn't even think, just reached out his hand to cover her abdomen.
"This one," he said. "We'll show this one all this some day."
Nodding, she'd raised her husband's hand to kiss it. She'd dated The Commander because he'd impressed her, but she'd married Steve because of his sweetness.
Her insistence on properly examining whatever Steve brought her led to the discovery that Wonder Labs had produced the components for three different supervillains. Without that information, Doctor Semtex could have continued running his nefarious racket. But Steve had dealt with him. That had been when he'd broken the last back-up headset beyond repair. She would never get back to being that thorough after Will was born and took up all the time that earthquakes, megalomaniacs and viewings didn't.
During the pregnancy, she put in similar computer systems at Superior Realty. With her acumen, Steve's charm and the purring-and-whirring 'puters as back up, the word 'superior' in the company's name stopped being optimism and became fact. No realtor in Maxville could compete.
Despite that, there were still stretches when she got bored. The day after she admitted this to Steve, he brought home a pinball machine. He thought it was such a neat idea that she suggested putting it in the secret sanctum. Steve stopped thinking it was such a great idea when, with more practice and better hand and eye co-ordination, she started owning the scoreboard.
Then there came a time - and Steve liked this stretch - when she craved a whole other kind of entertainment. All he had to do was look at her to find her needy, reach out and he'd find her wet for him. It didn't last though; her baby grew, pushing her organs around a little, making her sit in certain ways, and late on in the pregnancy her ankles swelled and she hated it. Her only relief then was to fly - or hover, really - about the house. She had the blinds shut first, of course.
And she knew that her baby was content as she flew, in a way that wasn't true when she or Steve tried singing. If anything, the only signs of distress were just after she landed. Sometimes, it got bad enough that she'd alight once again. It even worked after Will was born. He was a well-behaved baby, but being cradled as she flew made him a better-behaved one.
She pointed this out whenever she and Steve bickered over which power the kid would inherit, a debate that started with the second trimester and kept right on through Will's childhood.
"Junior loves to fly."
"Yeah, but those kicks of his, Josie." Steve replied, stretching his hand over what was now a pronounced bulge. "They're really strong-"
"One, no baby's come out of the womb powered up. Two, Junior may be a girl. Three, she'd probably cause me an injury if the kicks were super strong."
Steve's face creased with instant concern at the third point - he'd crushed a door-handle in haste that afternoon and, still feeling guilty, didn't want to think of the baby causing her pain.
"Does it matter which it is?" she demanded. "Either way, I know we're going to love this baby." And that was what mattered, she thought, leaning in to kiss Steve, her hormones ramping up her affections.
Though when labor came, there were times when she wished for a crisis that required The Commander's attention. He kept taking his glasses off in worry, although everyone told him that a long labor was usual for a first child. That everything was, in fact, normal.
Josie counted the length of her labor not by hours or contractions, but by the number of times she had to remind Steve about the glasses. Hers stayed on all through the birth - the doubts, the boredom and the screaming. She thought about flying, about getting home, and, at the same time, she availed herself of the fact that she could maul her husband's hand pretty mercilessly, and that if his hand was being crushed, it wasn't taking his darn glasses off.
When they told her she had a healthy son, and she saw that he was pink and quick to find his voice, it was up there, top of the scoreboard, with the moment she first flew, the moment she saw Steve at the altar. She took Will in her arms as soon as she could, and promised to show him the sunset at Hawaii, to get him pizzas from Pisa. She handed him to an eager Steve and watched him make his own promises to their child, and when Will gripped his hand around Steve's finger, and he whispered, delighted, "Strongest grip in the world, Josie" she was too tired, and maybe too moved, to argue the point.
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