Author’s note: I am going to basically spoil what happens in this chapter because I believe there needs to be a warning. I don’t want this to trigger any of you, so if this is something that you cannot handle then please do not read. I’ll have the first comment on this chapter be a quick sum up of what happens. But this chapter is about miscarriage. So if that’s something you can’t read about, then just skip down to the end and there will be the important parts of the chapter in the first comment. PLEASE do not feel obliged to read the chapter.
For someone who had a bad time dealing with emotions, living with a pregnant person was very, very, very… very difficult. Specter tried hard to keep a tight hold on his patience and when he felt like he was losing it, he would go somewhere to be by himself for a few moments. He catered to every one of Chance’s whims he could, and looked forward to being at work. Dealing with emotionless Doctor Rosso was a lot easier than dealing with moody Chance.
In mid-July, at nearly the halfway point of the pregnancy, Specter and Chance went to bed–both very tired but looking forward to the next day since they were going to go shopping for a stroller. Specter tried to snuggle against Chance but Chance wriggled away. Specter was freezing with the AC blasting and two different fans going, pointing at the bed. It was warm out, but not that warm. So Specter just wrapped an extra blanket around himself as Chance fell asleep under a single sheet.
It felt like only a few minutes of sleep went by before Specter woke up. He wasn’t sure what woke him up at first until he heard a tiny yelp of pain. He sat up and saw Chance was awake. Chance was curled up in a little ball, crying softly in what seemed to be pain. “Chance?” Specter whispered, turning on the light.
“It hurts,” Chance wheezed out. “I’m having really bad pain. Oh my Watcher it hurts, Specter… it hurts… it hurts!”
It took a few more slow seconds before Specter jumped into action. He knew Chance could be over dramatic about pain and it was very likely the baby was just kicking him, but he didn’t want to risk it. He called the labs–he called the professor–saying they’d be there soon. Then he threw shoes on, scooped Chance up and carried him out to the car. Chance sobbed in pain and the sobs only got louder on the drive to the labs. Specter began to worry even more. Maybe it wasn’t just the baby kicking.
The sounds Chance was making by the time they got to the lab were physically hurting Specter. He carried Chance in to where Professor Kay was waiting. The Professor went pure white at the sound and hurriedly led Specter to the medical room where Chance was usually looked over. Specter gingerly placed his husband down on the bed and tried not to get angry as the doctor slowly made her way into the labs.
“What’s wrong?” Specter demanded. “Something is wrong–what’s wrong–“
“Step back, Mr. Greyson. Step back.”
He didn’t want to, but he did. He backed up and watched with a sinking heart as the doctor and the professor buzzed around Chance, checking him over and finally needing to put him under. Specter chewed his fingernails, stomach twisting as Chance’s cries faded as he fell asleep. The doctor said something to her brother and the professor turned. “S-Specter… c-c-come here…” He took Specter’s arm and pulled him away, turning him so his back was to Chance and the doctor.
“What’s going on?” Specter asked. “Is he okay?”
“He… w-w-will be f-f-fine…” But there was a tremble in the professor’s voice.
“But?” Specter asked, his voice feeling like a knife in his throat.
“I’m s-so sorry.” The professor’s eyes were huge and watery. “The ba–baby’s gone.”
Since the doctor had to operate to remove the baby’s body, Chance was unconscious for a while. Long enough for Specter to cry all the tears he had inside of him and prepare himself for comforting Chance. Not that he was prepared at all. He sat next to Chance’s bed, no idea how to even tell those beautiful turquoise eyes. He could see them, big and hopeful… darkening to the sadness Chance rarely had. But Specter did his best to steel himself for the moment.
Chance woke up slowly, his body shifting and then his mouth emitting a slight, pained grunt. Finally his eyes opened. “Spe…ecter…?” he asked softly, distantly. “Specter.”
“Hey.” Specter felt his throat tightening and he swallowed, trying his hardest to speak. “How do you f-feel?”
“Achy…” Chance groaned and stretched a bit. “Ohhh. Achy. What–what happened? I remember being asleep and then pain and then–then you carried me here?”
“I brought you to the labs, yes.” Specter licked his lips but his mouth was too dry to make a difference. “Do you remember anything else?”
Chance shook his head slowly and started to sit up, but Specter gently pushed him back down. “Not really. I remember pain. What happened?”
What do I say? Specter reached over and took Chance’s hand, squeezing tightly. “I’m not sure exactly what happened yet. But… something happened and–and…” He squeezed the hand tighter, wanting to look somewhere other than Chance’s face but it would be wrong to look away. “We had a miscarriage.” Chance just stared blankly at Specter. “Do you–you know what a miscarriage is…?” But Chance just stared blankly. “We lost the baby,” Specter finally forced out but Chance kept staring blankly. Specter shifted uncomfortably. “Are you… do you understand…?”
“No,” Chance said flatly, sitting up. “What do you mean?”
“The baby–the–” He was at a complete loss for words. “A miscarriage is when–“
“I know what a miscarriage is,” Chance said with a rather eerie laugh. “But we couldn’t have had it.” He placed a hand on his stomach and frowned then pulled up his robe, seeing the fresh stitches. “What’s this? What are these for?”
“The doctor had to–to cut in you remove the–the–” But now Specter couldn’t talk. He bowed his head and reached out for Chance’s hand but Chance was studying the stitches. “I’m so sorry, Chance.”
“No.” Chance got up and swayed a bit, grabbing Specter to hold himself up. “What did Doctor Green-Eyes do to me?”
“Chance, the baby died.” Specter stood up and placed his hands firmly on Chance’s shoulders. “Jay had to remove the body.”
“No the baby–the–our baby didn’t–Cloud–our baby–no!” He grabbed hold of Specter’s arm, his eyes going huge and sad, heart-wrenching sad. “No, you’re–it’s not–the doctor–no. I’m not–we didn’t. The baby. Our Cloud is still–we can’t.” He then broke into even more incoherent babbling that fell into sobs. Specter hugged him tightly, holding him for a long time as Chance cried. He rubbed Chance’s back gently and despite having cried all the tears he could earlier he felt his eyes getting wet again. They held each other for a long time, neither of them saying anything.
Soon Chance’s sobs quieted down as slumped down to his knees. “How is this possible?” he whispered. “How did this happen? I didn’t everything–“
“It’s not your fault–“
“I did everything! I ate right and I exercised the way the books said and that video you gave me and–“
“It’s not your fault.”
“–and what did I do wrong, Specter?” Chance let out a choking sound. “What did I do?”
“Nothing, it’s not your fault, love. It’s not your fault.” He knelt down in front of Chance, giving him pleading eyes. He didn’t like Chance blaming himself but didn’t know how to get him to stop. “It’s not your fault,” he repeated, putting his head on Chance’s shoulder. “It’s not your fault.”
After a few minutes of silence the door opened and in came Doctor Rosso-Rood-Redding wearing fresh clothes. Her brother was behind her, also in fresh clothes. “I need to ask you a few questions,” the doctor said when she saw Chance was awake. Specter rose, feeling the need to be protective.
“Is it necessary right now?” he asked, clenching his teeth.
She adjusted her glasses, giving him a rather annoyed look. “The sooner the better,” she answered. “It will only be a few questions. I also need you to sign this.” She waved her hand and Kay held up a clipboard. “It is a simple form asking permission to do a few–examinations. To try and figure out what the problem is.”
Specter’s body went stiff, his chest seizing up a bit. He wanted to scream at her, to tell her no, to throw the clipboard in her face. Slowly he curled his fingers so they were pushing into his palms and he took in a deep breath. “What exactly do you need to do?”
Her eyes met his and the coldness in them fueled the anger inside of him. “I am not your enemy, Specter,” she said without a trace of anything in her voice. It was so monotone and blank, it was if a robot were speaking. He couldn’t tell if she was being genuine or not. “I will need to examine the…” She paused, thinking for the right word. “… the remains,” she finally settled on. “If you do not want me to, I will not. However if you desire answers as to why…” She lifted her hands, palms up.
He dug his fingers into his palms so hard he was certain he would break the skin any second. “Professor, what do you think?” He turned to look at the professor, not trusting him any more than he trusted the doctor but Chance trusted the professor.
Kay looked startled he was asked. “Ah–wh-what? Well, uh, w-well… if th-there was a–a–a problem then kn-knowing what the p-problem is would… c-could… perhaps prevent…” He nearly dropped the clipboard and bowed his head, not finishing. He didn’t need to finish. Specter understood clearly what the professor was getting at. It could prevent this happening again, if they were to try again.
Then a small voice piped up. “I’m still here, you know.”
All three of them turned to look at Chance. His skin was so pale, his eyes were puffy and red, and he looked so fragile that Specter felt a surge of the need to protect him. “What do you want?” Specter asked quietly. “Do you–w-want the doctor to…”
Chance nodded. “Yes. I think–I think–if–yeah.” He wrapped his arms around himself and turned his head. “Yeah.”
So Specter signed the form and then the doctor set it aside. “I need to ask a few questions to you,” she said to Chance who kept looking away. “Commonly, miscarriages happen by the twelfth week. It’s not entirely rare for this to happen in the twentieth week but I do need to know what you have been doing in order to help sort out why you miscarried. Most likely it was something you–“
The sound filled the room and then there was complete silence. Chance’s mouth was a wide ‘o’ and his eyes were slowly widening as well. One of Kay’s hand was over his mouth, the other was beginning to shake. And Jay just stood there with her head turned, trying to comprehend what happened.
Specter lowered his fist, breathing heavily. “Don’t you fucking dare,” he growled.
Jay’s eyes went to him first and then her head followed, very slowly. She lifted one hand and touched her jaw where his fist had connected. There was a faint tremble in the hand touching her jaw but just one little tremble and her hand was steady again. “You…. pu…” Everyone could see in her face that it was painful to talk. Specter suspected he had broken her jaw. He also suspected he was fired. And probably was about to have to watch his back for hit men following.
Jay’s arm jerked a bit but whatever she was planning on doing was stopped since Kay moved in the blink of an eye, standing between her and Specter. “S-s-s-sister,” he stammered. “Go and f-fix your–go and g-g-get–go.”
“I kn-know,” Kay said, squeezing her arms. “B-but your phras-phrasing of the q-questioning was r-rather unfortunate.”
“Go.” He pushed her towards the door. “P-please.” He wasn’t even waiting for her answer, he was just prodding her at the door until she stumbled out. He shut the door and spun around, leaning back and shaking even more.
“I’m fired is my guess,” Specter said, rubbing his hand.
“You punched her!” Chance exclaimed, going towards him. Specter put an arm carefully around Chance’s waist, careful not to touch anywhere near the front. “Why?”
Oh, Chance. Specter felt a glimmer of a smile somewhere inside of him but it didn’t come out on his face. Chance’s naivety had prevented additional emotional pain, thank Watcher, Specter thought. This was hard enough. Jay accusing Chance of doing something to cause the miscarriage would have made it so much worse.
“Why?” Chance asked again, studying Specter’s face.
“Because sh-she deserved it,” Kay said before Specter could speak. “Chance. P-please lay down. You really n-need to rest. We can t-talk later, all right?”
Chance looked at Kay then at Specter. Then he stumbled back to the bed and lay down. Kay and Specter exchanged looks and Kay opened his mouth, closed it, frowned, then left the room. Specter suddenly felt very exhausted so he took a seat by Chance’s bed, taking hold of his hand again.
The next few days were like a dream. No. A nightmare. Chance sometimes understood what had happened but other times he would hold his stomach and say he could feel the baby moving. Sometimes he refused to admit the miscarriage had happened. Other times he would just cry until he had nothing left. Going back home was not something Specter wanted, but they couldn’t stay at the labs. Kay helped Specter get Chance home and the moment they went inside Chance went upstairs and stood in the doorway of the nursery.
“He’s gone,” Chance said when Specter approached him.
“Yes,” Specter said, putting his head against the back of Chance’s head.
“Is it something I did?”
“No.” But Specter knew that that lie couldn’t continue much longer. Well, it wasn’t a complete lie. It wasn’t really Chance’s fault. But it was because of Chance. Jay had examined the body and examined Chance again. She was of the opinion that it was Chance’s unnatural biology that caused the miscarriage. She wasn’t a hundred percent certain though, and was doing some studying. She also hadn’t said whether Specter was fired. Kay had tried to find out, but she never really responded. So Kay took it into his hands to give Specter some paid time off.
The days at home were just as hard as the days at the lab. Chance spent most of his time curled up in bed–sometimes denying what happened, sometimes accepting–while Specter took care of the house. Mrs. Penstone showed up at one point to help out. She stayed with Chance while Specter went to do errands in town. When Specter came home he found Mrs. Penstone folding clothes while Chance sat on the floor of the bedroom hugging Mr. Fluffy, crying into his fur. Specter was surprised at Mr. Fluffy’s patience but that cat certainly was very patient during their stay at the house. Chance clung to that cat, and Mr. Fluffy let him.
“Animals have senses for things like that,” Mrs. Penstone said one evening while she and Specter sat downstairs eating dinner. “He knows Chance needs someone small to hold.”
Specter poked at his dinner, nodding silently. He felt so tired… it wasn’t as if he was doing much but the emotions were just sapping the energy out of him. He was supposed to go back to work soon but would he be able? Would he even be welcome? Did he even care? He wished he didn’t have to work but at the same time he wasn’t sure how many more days he could spend stuck in the house. The air around him felt heavy and nights were on the verge of unbearable. He didn’t know really how to comfort Chance. He didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t punch the emotions like he could the doctor. He felt so helpless.
The next day he went to work, and there was Jay. He braced himself for the news that he was fired but the only thing Jay said was, “I’ll need to see him again soon.”
Specter scowled. “Why?”
“To make sure he is recovering properly. Come.” She began walking and he followed. “I am quite positive the reason behind the miscarriage is due to the fact he is not entirely human. Rather, he was not born human. He seems quite human now but I highly doubt he will be able to sustain a pregnancy. After examining the–the remains, I am rather surprised that the pregnancy lasted as long as it did.”
“Was the baby–” He stopped since he didn’t know what he was going to say. “Chance can’t be pregnant?”
“No, I believe any other pregnancies will result in miscarriage.”
“So. I will be pregnant.”
Jay stopped in her tracks and spun around, her eyebrows raised very high. “You?” she asked, sweeping her gaze down his body. “You?”
Specter’s cheeks heated up a bit. “We want children, Doctor Rosso. If Chance can’t–can’t be pregnant then logically I should be the one to do so.”
“Not a surrogate?”
He scratched at his beard, feeling uncomfortable. “Is that possible? With his past being so strange, it would be hard to find–ah. You mean someone here.”
“I did,” she said with a nod. “However that will be unlikely.”
“What, a surrogate?” Specter asked and she nodded again. “So that leaves me.” With that the doctor shook her head. “You are beginning to really frustrate me, Doctor.”
“Are you going to punch me again?” she hissed.
“No but I would like clear answers.”
“Very well.” She folded her arms and gave him a hard stare. “I have done a few experiments with Chance’s sperm. It is inviable.”
“It means it isn’t–“
“I know what it means!” he snapped, his hands curling into fists. “I don’t get what you mean by it being inviable.”
She shrugged, looking very bored. “I mean what I mean. His sperm is inviable. His sperm is incapable of being turned into a healthy egg that will fully develop into a baby, and it is incapable of properly fertilizing an egg. Biologically, he cannot have children.”
Specter sat in his car for a while, just staring at the house. He was dreading going in and talking to Chance. Jay’s words repeated over and over in his head along with Chance shrieking that he wanted kids that fateful day over a year ago. Specter bent forward and pressed his forehead against the top of the steering wheel. A few tears fell, some sliding onto the steering wheel, some catching in his beard. He wants kids so bad. Specter had never wanted kids, or even thought about wanting kids. After the death of his parents everything–everything–had been Samuel and hunting ghosts. Romance didn’t exist, ‘love’ was just a word for physical desire. Family was not family. Family was dead. His aspirations were for killing ghosts, ridding the world of ghosts.
And now here he was, heart aching desperately for children. Did he even want kids? He did but why? Because Chance wanted kids? It seemed that it was getting harder and harder to untangle his own desires and wishes from Chance’s desires and wishes. Was that so wrong, though? Was that love? All those love songs and poems–about two becoming one. Long ago he had just dismissed the notion as just sex. Two bodies joining to become one. But now–now he could see it was more than that. It really was oh Watcher two souls becoming as one. It was him, not knowing (or even caring) if the only reason he wanted kids was simply because Chance wanted kids.
He got out of the car, mind still pouring over this. If it wasn’t for Chance, he wouldn’t want kids. That was true. But if it wasn’t for Chance, he wouldn’t want anything but to kill ghosts. Chance had opened Specter’s heart to the world. If Chance were gone, would he still want kids? No. He couldn’t raise kids on his own. His desire for children lay in the fact Chance wanted kids. But he wanted to be a father, though he was aware that he was going to make a not-so-good father. And Chance wanted to be a father. They would be fathers together… but… how?
Specter went inside and nearly tripped over Mr. Fluffy. “Stupid cat,” he muttered and Mr. Fluffy gave a yowl before running off. “I’m back!” He didn’t need to call out though since Chance and Mrs. Penstone were both on the couch near the fireplace. Chance peeked over the edge of the couch. Specter smiled. “Hey–darling.” The word was strange to say but he knew Chance liked those nicknames.
“Specter!” Chance scrambled off the couch and came running, almost tripping but managing to catch himself. Specter scooped him up in his arms and gave him a big kiss. This was the longest they had been apart since–…since. “I missed you. How was work? I guess you still have work since you’re here and not here earlier.”
“Yeah, I wasn’t fired.” He kissed Chance a few more times before setting him down. Chance had already been light before but after the incident, he had lost a lot of weight and not just the pregnancy weight. He was terribly worried about that but decided to give Chance a little more time to get his appetite back before interfering. “How was your day?”
“Fine. Gretchen and I played some video games.” Specter tried not to jump. It was so strange hearing Mrs. Penstone’s name after all these years of knowing her as Mrs. Penstone but two days before she had insisted on being called by her first name. “We baked some cupcakes, too.”
“Oh, good. That sounds great!” Specter smiled and Chance smiled back. It was going to be so hard to tell him what Jay had said earlier. He felt his heart shattering just looking into that smiling face. He felt like throwing up. “I love you.”
“I love you too!” Chance was beaming now. Not quite the same beam he used to have, but almost. Specter gathered him in his arms and held tightly. Not yet, he decided. Not yet.
Gretchen and Mr. Fluffy stayed for another two days before they went home. Chance was doing a lot better. Not great, but at least he was doing things instead of curling up in bed and not interacting with anything. He often put his hands on his stomach and insisted he could feel the baby moving and a few times Specter had to remind him he was no longer pregnant… but overall, he was doing better.
“H-have you t-t-told him?” Kay asked one evening when he visited. Chance was getting a shower and Kay was getting ready to go. “About–wh-what my sister d-discovered?”
“Not yet,” Specter said and Kay pursed his lips. “I will. Watcher, Professor, he’s trying to recover from… from what happened still. It’s only been a month. How am I supposed to just break him even more? He’s only just starting to get a little bit of weight back on him.” Not enough, he added silently.
“Y-you’re right.” Kay sighed and then asked, “Are you d-d-doing all right?”
Specter wasn’t sure if he heard right. He looked at Kay, very bewildered. “Am I…?”
“He w-was your baby, too.”
He couldn’t breathe for a second or two and then there was a great whoosh he couldn’t stop. He nearly fell and he did stumble forward. Kay caught him, and awkwardly held him as he began sobbing. He clutched Kay’s shirt tightly, unable to stop crying. He just cried, and instead of being the rock for Chance to cry on he now had someone to cry on. Kay was about half his size but he stayed firm and kept his arms around his great-great-great-grandson-in-law. Specter cried for quite some time and the only reason he stopped was because he heard the water above stop. He pulled away, wiping his eyes on his sleeve.
“I–I’m sorry,” Specter said gruffly.
Kay placed a hand on his wrist. “If you n-need anything…” He trailed off and Specter nodded. “G-goodnight.” He left the house, and Specter went upstairs. It had hurt but he was glad Kay had said it. My baby too. He massaged his throbbing chest and decided he needed to tell Chance. The sooner Chance heard, the sooner he could start to heal.
Specter woke up in the middle night not because of something, but because of the absence of something. Rather, someone. Chance wasn’t in bed. He looked at the clock and saw it was shortly before 3am. For a few seconds he thought Chance was in the bathroom but the door was cracked and no light was coming in. Specter got out of bed and left the bedroom, wondering if maybe Chance was downstairs. He had told Chance the terrible news earlier and Chance hadn’t said anything. He was very worried and when he went downstairs and couldn’t find any sign of Chance, grew even more worried.
He went back upstairs with the intention of getting dressed but before he went into the bedroom he heard a noise from the nursery. Specter hesitated and then opened the door. Chance was sitting in the rocking chair, staring at the crib. Everything was still up because Chance had refused to let Specter take apart the furniture. The dresser was sitting with a few clothes in it, there were a couple stuffed animals on top of it. The changing table was waiting empty since they weren’t planning on getting diapers till closer to the due date. The bunny rug on the floor, the baby blanket in the crib–and Chance sitting in the rocking chair, only barely moving.
Chance looked over then down at his lap. His hands went to his stomach and pressed in. Specter stepped into the room and knelt down in front of Chance but Chance remained silent. “I love you,” Specter said, reaching out to take Chance’s hands. “I love you.” He brought Chance’s hands to his mouth and kissed both of them. “I love you.”
“I’m so sorry, Specter…”
“It’s not something you chose, it’s not your fault,” Specter whispered, kissing each finger individually. “I love you, Chance.” Chance began sobbing, and Specter put his head in Chance’s lap. “We will have kids. I promise.”
And the two of them stayed that way for the rest of the night, in the dark nursery–heartbroken and desperate.