#RedrockAgency – October 24, 2016

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Vasquez returned to the Redrock base a while ago, after having been out on unspecified business for most of the day. She's spent the last hour or so in the living quarters, without alerting Jason to her presence in the base.

Jason has spent the better half of the afternoon in the gym. Dressed in a pair of jogging pants, some sneakers and a snug, long-sleeved white shirt, he wipes at his forehead with the towel draped over his shoulder as he makes his return to the living quarters. Head down, he steps through the door once it slides open.

Vasquez appears to have been pacing back and forth across the room, and she looks more than a little startled when Jason enters. She's dressed in her usual manner. Fatigue-type pants and a tanktop. She looks at first like a deer caught in the headlights of a car, frozen in place as she stares at him for a moment. She then breaks into an awkward smile, which turns immediately into a worried frown. "Jason! You're-...

you're here." she manages, blinking.

Jason looks equally caught off guard, assuming Vasquez was still out, though he quickly recovers. He furrows his brow as a lopsided grin crosses his face. "Uh huh. You're a sharp one. Sometimes you really blow my mind with that fast-acting brain of yours." he teases as he starts across the room. "Didn't know you were back. Busy day?" he asks idly as he passes by the bathroom and underhands the towel through the door, aiming for

his pile of dirty clothes he changed out of the previous day that are still lumped onto the floor. The towel goes wide and gets caught on the sink.

Vasquez ' eyebrows remain furrowed as she turns to follow his path across the room. "I-... yeah. I guess. Jason, I-... we need to talk." She goes quiet, letting an uneasy silence fill the room as she sits down on the edge of the bed. Her expression is more neutral now, but dead-serious. In her eyes its not hard to see that her mind is racing, for whatever reason.

Jason's grin slowly fades away as he glances her way. "Okay...." he says tentatively. "Nine out of ten times when someone starts a conversation with 'we need to talk', it means they're about to hit you with a truckload of shitty news..." he says, wiping the palms of his synthetic hands across the thighs of his pants. They didn't sweat anymore, but old habits died hard. When the rest of him began to sweat, he still often caught

himself wiping his hands off. "...What's wrong? Is this the sort of thing I should be getting my armor on for?" he adds, cocking a thumb towards the door as his smirk briefly tugs at the corner of his mouth while he attempts to lighten the mood, but his smirk fades away just as quickly. Last thing needed right now was bad news. Seems like it's never in short supply.

Vasquez turns her head to look out across the room instead once Jason sits down, elbows on her knees as she leans forward, tugging at her own hand. "Is there-..." She sits back up straight, looking back at the man next to her. "This-... this is a beautiful planet, right?" she asks, an attempt at a smile collapsing before having a chance to come to life. She stands up. "Did I ever tell you about this time when I was eight,

and-..." she shakes her head, looking around the room with an uncomfortable expression. She's sweating too now.

Jason furrows his brow, not exactly following what she's getting at... or if she's getting at anything, for that matter. "Uh.... Okay...." he nods, giving a glance towards the window. Another nod follows. "Yeah.... This place isn't too bad." He wraps an arm across Vasquez' shoulders, his hand coming to a rest on her shoulder opposite of him. "You've got... you know.... the rings. And-.... and nature and shit, right? And then

there's-..." he trails off, looking to his side at Vasquez with utter confusion plastered across his face, "....What in the hell is going on, Linda?" he asks, the confusion showing through in his voice as well. "Is something wrong?"

Vasquez walks in a small semi-circle and then turns back to Jason. "No. Yes. I-... maybe. But-..." She looks extraordinarily awkward as she searches for the words. "It's dangerous here though. And the job-..." she trails off, her gaze moving from point to point, avoiding looking directly at Jason. "I talked to Ilyna today."

Jason's confusion only seems to grow as he watches Vasquez pace. ".....Okay....? And-...? And what? Did she sell you some Red Sand or something? Because you seem high as a kite right now, Linda. I've seen you on that shit and it was not pretty." A short snicker escapes him and his grin returns despite the jumpy nerves beginning to set in the longer she drags this out. He places his hands on his knees and climbs to his feet,

stepping over to the small track she has walked into the floor. Clapping his hands against her sides, he looks her dead in the eyes. "What is this all about? Come on. Whatever it is, you can talk to me. You know that, right?" He sucks in a deep breath, "....Things didn't go well with Ilyna, did they?" he asks.

Vasquez shakes her head, annoyance fading just as quickly as it appeared. "Wh-... no, that's not-... it went fine. It's fine. That's not what's important. I-... do you think Li is still afraid of me?" she asks, before immediately changing tracks. "We never really talked more about the surname situation." She shifts her weight from one leg to the other, looking at Jason's shoulder, more or less. Or perhaps the anchoring for

the cybernetics beneath the shirt.

Jason's face merely contorts into an expression of further confusion. "...Li? Why would she-... Surname situation? Who gives a shit, right? Wolfe. Vasquez. Neither. Both. I don't care. It's not important right?" He gives a quick shake of his head as a sigh escapes him. "I am so confused right now. Can you-...." another shake of his head interrupts him, "What are we talking about!?" He brings a hand from Vasquez' side up to his

head, shutting his eyes tightly as he begins to rub at his forehead. "Okay, okay.... I-... I think I know what this is about." he says as his eyes open and a frown begins to cross his face. "Are you starting to get cold feet about all of this wedding shit, Linda?" he asks as the disappointment begins to show in his eyes.

Vasquez mirrors his frown. "No! No. Of course not. Why would-... are you?!" she asks, her tone almost accusatory, for no apparent reason. She takes a step back, moving out of his grasp as she stares at him. She shakes her head as her expression softens. "No, no you don't..." she says, mostly to herself as she turns around and paces away from him, before turning and walking back. "Look, I-..." She lets out a nervous

chuckle, her expression remaining oddly uncharacteristic. "This wasn't how this was supposed to-... I wanted to talk to you before, not after. It's not just for me-... but now, I-... I love you, Jason. You know that, right?" Her voice is a little shaky, and she's pulling at one of the pockets sewn into her pants. A few rapid blinks, holding back tears.

Jason blinks a couple of times before letting out a deep breath. His expression changes multiple times as Vasquez speaks. First, he gains a relieved look upon being told that she's not having second thoughts, then a look of offense upon her accusation. As she begins to ramble, the familiar look of confusion returns. He steps towards Vasquez once again as he notices her on the verge of shedding tears after bouncing around like an

emotional pinball. "I-... Words, words, words. I'm hearing a whole shit ton of words right now but they're not making any sense, Linda..." he says softly, an exhausted chuckle following as his hands move back to her sides and give a quick little squeeze. "But yeah. Of course I know that." he shrugs, his smirk making a brief reappearance, "You'd be stupid not to. I mean, I'm pretty damn lovable." he jokes. One of his hands

snakes further around her waist to her lower back. "What are you trying to tell me?" he asks, his tone suddenly growing more serious. "Just... spit it out, Linda. Whatever it is, we'll figure it out, alright? We always do. But if we talk in circles for much longer then I'm gonna have a stroke trying to figure out what in the hell is going on. Come on, you're starting to worry me."

Vasquez averts her gaze for a moment, staring at the floor over Jason's shoulder. She remains silent for some time. This shouldn't be that hard. Another blink. "Do you think I would be-..." she shakes her head faintly and meets his gaze, moving the hand that is tugging at her pocket up to the hand on her side, sliding over it gently. "I... I tried to tell you before you the mission, but I didn't. I-..." she trails off,

going quiet for a while as she looks at him. She closes her eyes as she blurts out: "I'm pregnant." Her eyes immediately shoot open again, a worried look on her face as she studies him for any sign of a reaction.

Jason opens his mouth to respond, but his mouth simply hangs open, as if still processing what he's being told. "You-..... You're-..." is all he manages as he furrows his brow and tilts his head to the side, his gaze traveling down to Vasquez' belly. His hand soon follows his gaze, traveling from her lower back around to her side, then to her belly where it rests as a nervous chuckle escapes him. "....Are you sure...?" he asks.

"Because-.... Because that's great!" His gaze rises to meet hers, lopsided grin returning to his face. "...Right?" he asks, as if he's not sure how she wants him to feel about it, though it's quite obvious that he's beyond excited. He swallows hard as his thumb gently draws small circles on her stomach through her shirt and he lets out another chuckle. "I-..." he begins, but trails off, deciding instead to simply wrap

Vasquez up in a big hug. "I'm gonna be a father...?" he asks in disbelief.

Vasquez lets out a breath she didn't realize she had been holding, a big grin spreading across her face as she returns the hug, wrapping both arms around Jason and burying her face in his neck as she nods repeatedly. A sniffle escapes, and he'd soon feel a wetness against his neck. She refuses to let go of the hug, keeping a tight grip around his back. "Yes. Yes it is." she manages, her voice muffled. "You are." she

confirms. Her relief is obvious in her voice as she leans against him, a muffled, quiet mixture of laughter and sobbing soon being heard.

Jason presses a big, wet kiss to the side of Vasquez' head. Then a second. Then a third. Another nervous chuckle escapes him which gradually turns into legitimate, happy laughter, his shoulders rising and falling. "I'm gonna be a father!" he repeats, "I can't-... I-..." he swallows hard, giving Vasquez another tight squeeze and lifting her up off the ground briefly. "This is-..." he trails off again as he returns her to her feet,

simply shaking his head. "I love you so much, Linda.... I'm gonna be a father! You're gonna-... We're gonna be parents!" His left hand moves from Vasquez' side, moving up to his cheek to wipe at the tears escaping. "How long have you known...? Errr-.... how far-.... How far along are you? That's a thing people ask, right? Right?" he asks with a chuckle, seeming as if his mind is being pulled in ten different directions.

Vasquez ' mix of laughter and crying is interrupted by a constricted groan as she's lifted up into the air, no match for Jason's mechanical grip. Her smile returns when her feet are on solid floor again. Her face is wet from tears as she looks at him, unable to contain her relief both at finally managing to tell him, and his reaction. "About two weeks." she says, still grinning from ear to ear. She keeps one hand on his

shoulder while the other reaches for the synthetic hand he used to wipe at his tears, grasping it gently. "I haven't known that long." she clarifies. "Halisi told me." She seems almost like she's going to bounce, a lightness to her that has never before manifested.

Jason intertwines his fingers with Vasquez' as she grasps his hand. "So-.... So that means we've still got a bit of time time? Still needs to cook for a good while before-..." he blows raspberries, "...you know, the bun comes out of the oven." he says with a nod as his other hand moves right back to her belly. "Shit, there's so much we have to do!" he says, another fit of laughter interrupting him. "This-... This is great... This

is the happiest day of my life." He steps in close once again, pressing his body against hers as he squeezes her hand. "We have to tell everyone..." he continues, speaking through a big grin as he leans in to press a kiss against her forehead. "I can't believe this..."

Vasquez removes her hand from Jason's shoulder, wiping at her own tears. She lets out a sniffle, which turns into a chuckle as she hears his rambling. "Yes. Yes, I think we still have some time. Babies tend to take a while, you know..." she says with a roll off her eyes and another bit of laughter as she lets her forehead rest against his chin for a moment. She opens her mouth to speak but instead just hugs him again,

moving her head to his shoulder and planting a kiss against his neck. "We're going to be parents." she echoes, the fact still sinking in despite having known for a while now. "I love you, Jason. I'm so glad I'm here with you."

Jason presses another kiss to Vasquez' forehead in response, seeming content to just remain right where he is for now as he lets the bomb just dropped on him sink in. After a few moments of just silent breathing, he finally nods to himself. "We're gonna be awesome parents." he says, as if having decided it. "Jeeze-... Shit... This is a lot." he adds, followed by another chuckle, "It-... It's good-... It's great but-...." he

nods again," It's a lot to take in. We've gotta-... Need a-... a crib? Yeah? And clothes? All kinds of-... of little shoes. And diapers! Right?" he begins running through, as if they're on a clock, his mind racing a mile-a-minute. Suddenly and without warning, both of his arms wrap around Vasquez once again as he returns her hug with a tight hug of his own, happiness practically dripping from him.

Vasquez lets out another chuckle as Jason spins into gear again. She lifts her head and moves her hands over to his shoulders, squeezing them. "Jason. Jason, I'm two weeks pregnant. The baby's not coming tomorrow. We-..." she pauses. The baby. Saying that out loud was strange. Suddenly more real. Her smile goes from a grin to a softer, but no less joyful expression as she looks at him, eyes moving from detail to detail on

his face. "We'll have time to do all those things. And we will. We will." She laughs, a wipes again at the remainder of her tears. A loud sigh follows. "It's such a relief to finally tell you. I-... I can't-... I-I wasn't sure if you wanted this as much as me..." she says, her voice breaking.

Jason's gaze moves from Vasquez' left eye to her right, a confused look overcoming him briefly as he shakes his head in response to her voicing her earlier concerns. "Wha-... no. Of course I-..." he pauses, taking a breath to collect his thoughts as the smile returns to his face. "I'm going to spend the rest of my life with you, Linda. What more could I ask for than the opportunity to start a family with you? I mean it's

scary..." he furrows his brow briefly, "....Eh. Fucking terrifying is probably-..." he trails off, his mind obviously being pulled in a million different direction as he shakes his head again. "...You know what I'm saying. But this?" he continues as he brings his hand back to her belly, gently sliding it back and forth, "This is-... This is something special, Linda. I couldn't be happier. Really."

Vasquez ' laughter returns as she looks down, placing her own hand over the one on her belly. She brings her head back up but closes her eyes, smiling widely. "Yes. Yes it is." she agrees, almost humming. "Don't think I'm not terrified too." she says as her eyes open, her smile fading but the excitement remaining in her voice even as she says this. "But with you? I-... together, I know we can do this." Her smile starts to

return as she stands there, just looking at Jason, her hand still on his.

Jason's grin returns as he simply stares at their hands, one draped atop the other on Vasquez' belly. After a short while of seeming lost in the moment, he leans in and presses a soft kiss against her lips. "Mmmhmmm." he hums as he pulls back slightly, his eyes scanning across her face, "You bet your ass we can."

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Linda Vasquez

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