"Jake Stevenson to see you, ma'am," the guard said.
"I don't want to see him," Billie said morosely.
For four days, this had been the routine. Breakfast, shower, lunch, visit attempt, exercise, dinner, bedtime. Being on high security and suicide watch, the prisoner had very little privacy. She'd had none at all until she was fitted with biomonitors that would set off an alarm if any of her life signs flagged. This allowed her at least the dignity of being able to use the shower and toilet in privacy.
She had access to the television (embedded in the wall, so she couldn't use it as a weapon), could request a doctor or therapist at any time. The guards were chosen from those who felt friendly to her. It was not the intention of Vasquez, Jake, or Gus to keep her in solitary confinement. But the person she wanted to see was the person who refused to see her at all. Gus would not visit or even send her a message, and she didn't want to see the man who took his place.
A few moments later, the guard returned. It was a young woman named Tracey, who seemed to like Billie. "Ma'am, he asked me to give you a message," she said, and held out a folded piece of paper.
Billie thought of refusing it, but there was a chance it was from Gus. She took the page and unfolded it.
Billie knew something was different the moment she'd awakened. Usually, when Elaine felt her hold on their shared body weakening, she fled far from home, to keep Billie from learning anything about her life. But Billie had a sense of the city, and she thought she knew this one. There were so many people - so many different types of people. It could be no other than the center of the Nexus. Elaine had miscalculated.
Someone in the bustle of the streets bumped against her - and that was different too. They both usually found somewhere to hide when the change happened. She stumbled, caught herself on a lamp post.
Her balance was off. Her weight was off. There was... something... She looked down to see that she was pregnant.
Two feelings consumed her at once: "How dare that bitch?!" and "Mine!" and both emotions were equally powerful. She would find a way to hold on. She would give birth to the child. She would hide the child from Elaine forever and make sure it was hers, and not her rival's.
She made her way to a bench and spoke a word that caused a magic satchel to materialise next to her. She'd had to rob several people to get the money to have it enchanted, but it was worth it - especially the first few days after a change, before she could get settled somewhere. It had some clothes she wasn't ashamed to be seen in, enough money to get by on. And what she was looking for right now - her calendar.
Yes, it was early. Usually Elaine could fight her off for six months or more, but it had been barely five this time. She didn't know enough about babies - wasn't sure how far along she was. But maybe - it could be hers. It could have been conceived when she was the one holding the body. She wondered how she could find out. She'd need to consult with a midwife and learn.
Though - did it matter whose body it was conceived in, if both women carried the baby? No, it wouldn't. They each would give the child a personality, a soul. Billie felt sure of it. The child would be dual, just as they were. It didn't matter who conceived the child. It mattered who birthed it.
Billie made her plans, sure of having several months after the baby was born to hide it from Elaine. She hadn't counted on the physical strain of pregnancy or childbirth to shorten her time. As time passed, Billie could feel herself weakening, and realized this was why Elaine had lost hold early, and in the city. Billie realized she wouldn't have as much time as she thought.
When the time came, Billie swore at the midwife, at Elaine, at Henry Stevenson, and at the two different men who may have fathered the child on Billie. The midwife bore it composedly, as a part of her job. The others weren't there to hear. After nineteen hours of labour, the child was born breech.
And Billie remained herself as she held her son for the first time.
She could see at once that this was Elaine's child. But when her milk let down, she could not help but follow instinct and raise the child to her breast. As the boy nursed, Billie stroked his cheek. "Come, little one, my son, come out and see your mother." she cooed.
She might have grown to love him, had there been time. But over the next few days, she grew feverish and weak. The midwife didn't tell her she was dying, but she could hear it in her voice, and in the voices of the help that was called in. She was going to die here, and there would be no one to take care of the little one. He would be orphaned and sent to a foundling's home.
Better to die as her. Better to die as someone who had family. "Send for... Henry Stevenson..." Billie told the midwife. "This is his son."
And for the first time, she voluntarily released her hold and let Elaine through.
"I am also your son," the note read, in Jake's neat handwriting. Billie crushed the page and flung it away with a snarl.
The worst part was that it was true. She had carried him in her body. She had given him suck. She had given him to her worst enemy to raise. She had done it all in the hopes that her own son was buried within him, would awaken someday as she had done, nothing more, but still, she had done it.
Two hours later, she called Tracey over.
"Tell him I'll see him."