[identity profile] annabeth.livejournal.com in [community profile] osgood_asitgets

She'd been dressed up, wearing a suit like all the players wore, and Helm had been sitting on his stool, topless and in his jockstrap, towelling his hair off, and she couldn't help herself.

"Helmer," she'd said, injecting a throaty kind of growl into her tone. Helm looked up, but if he understood that she was coming onto him, he didn't show any sign.

"Hi, Ozzie," he'd replied, pulling his baseball cap down over his unruly, damp hair.

Chris had seen herself in a mirror and knew how hot she looked in the suit; even with her breasts bound, she filled out the front of the white dress shirt, the buttons straining across her chest, and the pants clung to her hips.

It was really a spur of the moment idea: Helm sitting there, confused and clean from his shower and she just wanted to know what it would be like, really. Hell, she wondered if Helm were a virgin.

The dressing room was empty, so she stepped up really close into his personal space.

"How do I look?" she asked breathily, and Helm's eyebrows creased.

"Fine?" he said, and it sounded more like a question.

"You like girls, right?" she asked, taking his baseball cap and pulling it off, running her fingers through his hair.

"I uh, yeah?" Helm replied, not sounding sure at all.

Maybe he
was a virgin. "Have you ever seen a naked girl up close?"

"I had a girlfriend once," Helm defended himself immediately.

"That's not the same thing," Chris murmured huskily. She placed her hands on either side of his face and leaned in, slowly licking the outline of his lower lip. Helm didn't pull away, but...

"What are you doing?" he asked, and when she kissed him more thoroughly, she discovered she was going to have to school him—probably in a lot of ways.

Helm knew the basics of how to kiss, but he'd obviously never been taught how to do it well.

So she traced the seam of his lips with her tongue, then set to showing him exactly what to do.

When she let him go, Helm was obviously dazed. But he went back to pulling his socks on, as if she hadn't just come onto him.

"I'm seducing you," she said. Helm gave her another look with frown lines on his forehead.

She tugged his hands away from his socked feet and planted one palm on each breast. It made her shiver.

Helm blushed and moved to take his hands away.

"No," she said. "Keep touching me." She let him go, and he just held his hands in place as if he didn't know what to do with them.

Either he was really unsure of what to do with his now-female goalie, or he was definitely a virgin.

She stepped back just slightly and began to unbutton the dress shirt. Helm's eyes were fixed on her fingers, on each sliver of flesh she uncovered.

She left her shirt hanging open, unbound her breasts, and by the time she took him inside her, she had the inkling that he
almost knew what he was doing.

——


At least she didn't fuck Kindl, Chris thinks to herself as she regards her list, the top of the pen in her mouth. He's even more of a kid than Helmer or Abby is.

Hank had been too preoccupied with Pavel, and Pavs is married, so he never even looked at Chris once, even after she had changed into a girl.

Bert claimed that sex before a game messed up his shot, and she couldn't figure out how to argue with that.

Ericsson turned her down flat. He said he had a crush on someone, but wouldn't say who—and looked shiftily around the locker room, leading Chris to believe it was a teammate. Not her, apparently. She did feel a little bit unreasonably rejected over that.

But then there's Malts. He may be retired, but he's her best friend—besides Drapes, of course—and she couldn't resist.

Malts might kill her if the baby turns out to be his. Hell, if it is his, for all she knows she's having twins—which would really suck.

He has a really filthy mouth...

——


"Fuck, you feel good," he'd groaned as he entered her. "Tight and wet and I'm going to fuck you until you cry."

"Shut up," she'd said, as he pivoted his hips a little while inside her. He thrust, easy and gentle, and then snagged a nipple with his lips, bit down on it with his teeth. She clawed at his back and tried to get him to let go—"you're too rough!"—but he refused, and then all of a sudden the pain seared into pleasure and she felt herself soak her inner thighs.

"You feel that?" Malts said. "You just wet my whole cock. I'm so slick now, but you're still so tight and hot around me. It's fucking awesome."

"I'm gonna pee on you if you don't shut up," she gritted out, but he just licked at her nipple again, one arm wrapped around her slender back to hold her up so he could reach her with his mouth.

She tried not to think about the fact that fucking him when she had a dick was one thing, but now she was the
other woman and she couldn't help but ask herself if this was how he fucked Wendy.

"You could do that," Malts said from around her nipple. He was feasting on her like he thought she might vanish—and it was true that she had no idea when she might turn back into a guy. If she ever did.

She hoped she did, even if she was enjoying herself.

"But it wouldn't stop me," he continued. "Wouldn't bother me either. Natural fucking thing. God, fuck, move just like that, yeah..." and he ground against that spot inside with his dick.

He was thicker than Drapes, a little longer than Nick, but Nick definitely had more girth. She liked to think her own cock—back when she had one—was the biggest in the locker room, but she could oh-so-easily get used to this feeling, Malts stretching her to the limit.

"That... hurts..." she managed, as Malts bit her other nipple. The trouble was, she was lying, kind of. It
did hurt, but it was sending sharp signals of pleasure along her nerves and her lower body loved it, if the heavy, incessant beat in her pelvis was any indication.

Even her ass was pounding a beat in time with her heart, and Malts seemed to know it, too, because as he laved at her nipple, his fingers pushed against the tight muscle.

"Please—" she begged, but whether she was asking for more, or for less, she didn't know, and Malts wasn't listening anyway.

He worked his finger into her up to the knuckle—the throb quadrupled—and her heart rate kicked up so fast it stole her breath.

She came all over them both, drenching Malts right to the pubic hair. He grunted and slammed into her again; the pace frenetic, his body straining above hers, his fingers digging into her ass as he breathed heavily against her dampened breasts.

Her nipples were so sensitive now that she came again before she'd even really finished riding out the tremors of the first one.

Malts was a good lover.

"Fuck," Malts said. So, a good lover with a dirty mouth. "I fucking enjoyed that. Did you have a good time, Ozzie?"

"I'm fucking killed," she said, ironically, but Malts just quirked his lips at her as he pulled out and flopped onto his back on the bed.

His come dripped from her body...


——


Why didn't Chris use a condom? She has no answer for that. She should have, if for only the fact that any one of her teammates could have an STD. She wants to believe they're all responsible and that they're healthy, but the heart of the matter is, Abby sometimes takes girls—fans—back to his room (Helm complains about it on the road) and it's clear he doesn't always use a condom either.

She's actually really starting to worry, as she paces her living room. Helm might not know any better, but the others? Why did no one ask if she had a condom?

Was there some sort of private conquest for each of them, to fuck her bareback? And to think, she'd trusted them.

How could she have fucked Abby, Helm, Nick, Drapes, Clears, Kronner, Malts, Howie, and Val and not a single one of them asked about a condom? Didn't they consider the possibility of pregnancy?

The whole locker room is a bunch of idiots, she concludes darkly.

As she packs up some things to bring to a hotel, she knows she has to tell Jenna that she's got to get tested, too.

——


Sitting in the doctor's office waiting to get tested is a misery. Chris's grateful for Jenna's support, for the fact that her wife is calmly sitting next to her, reading a magazine as if Chris hadn't dropped the bombshell that she could have an STD.

"Stop thinking so much," Jenna says without taking her eyes off her magazine.

"I can't help it," Chris says, sinking down farther into her seat. She can barely look around the waiting room.

"Someday you'll tell me how you got pregnant," Jenna says softly. "I can wait for that day."

"Oh, the usual way," Chris mumbles. "You know."

"Was it Nick?" Jenna asks, finally setting the magazine down on the table next to her. "Or Drapes?"

"I couldn't help myself," Chris says, in full-on confession-mode now. "I just wanted to know what it was like."

"I can't blame you for that," Jenna says.

Chris leans across Jenna, picks up the magazine, worries at the pages, flipping through it back and forth.

"But you should," she whispers.

"What do you want me to say? That I'm angry? That I'm disappointed? Chris, I've seen how you look at them. I made peace with it long ago. It doesn't surprise me that you would seek them out."

"You—"

"Chris," Jenna says firmly, "right now you need someone. The last thing you need is judgement and angst."

"I don't deserve you," she says.

"Probably not, but you're stuck with me, because I love you, and we're married. For better or for worse, love, remember?"

"Most people would have divorced me by now," Chris whimpers, ashamed of how she sounds, but the hormones are hell.

"Chris, you love a person because of who they are, not what they do. So, yes, I'm disappointed. But I can live with it. We can survive this."

"As long as I didn't make you sick," Chris says, dropping the magazine onto her lap. Jenna twists in her seat and takes her chin in hand, kissing her decisively, regardless of what anyone else might think.

"Even if you did," she says, "we'll get through this together. All of it."

Chris is a horrible person. Especially since she doesn't think Jenna realises the extent of the sleeping-around she did.

The nurse comes through the door and calls her name, and she stands up so fast the magazine hits the floor.

And just like in everything else, Jenna cleans up after her.

——


"Drapes?" Chris says into the phone, about a month into her stay in the hotel. Explaining her absence is not going to be easy. She hasn't told anyone on the team besides Nick about the pregnancy.

Which has made the first month in the hotel very lonely. She can't see her kids, because she's starting to show and her breasts, already big enough, have gotten even more swollen.

"Oz!" Drapes says, sounding surprised. "Where have you been?"

"I couldn't play anymore," says Chris. "I had to take some time off."

"Nick said you were sick," Drapes replies, "but you've been gone for weeks. Are you injured? Why haven't you at least stopped by to see everyone?"

"I'm quarantined, sort of," Chris explains. Now the hard part. "You know that no one outside of the team knows I'm a girl right now. And of course we have to keep it that way. But, the thing is, Drapes... I'm, uh..."

"You're hiding out because of that? You weren't shy about coming to the Joe a few weeks ago."

"That's before I found out I was pregnant," Chris blurts. Great, way to break the news gently to anyone.

"You're what?" Drapes says eloquently.

"I got pregnant," Chris whispers into the phone. "I apparently did get every possible girl part."

There's a long, appropriately pregnant pause. Drapes's breathing is a little shallow, as if he's both shocked and worried.

"You're..." Drapes stops. "Who's the father?"

Isn't that the sixty-five million dollar question?

"I don't know," Chris says miserably.

"You don't know."

"It could be a lot of people," Chris says. This conversation is very awkward. "I have to call Malts and tell him, too. And a few other people. But that's why I can't go out. Hiding that I am a girl is one thing; hiding the pregnancy is going to be almost impossible unless I stay right where I am."

"Where are you, then? Do you need anything?"

"I'm staying in a hotel. I'll have Jenna give you the information so you can stop by. You know, if you want."

"I'll come by. Do you want me to bring you anything?"

Chris rubs her belly, which is starting to swell with her baby. She wishes she knew who the father was, because she wants to know what her baby might be like when it's older.

"I want a hot dog from the Joe," Chris says, a little shyly. But those are like, the best hot dogs ever, and she's hungry.

"All right then. I'll see you soon."

Chris hangs up, then scrolls through her contacts till she finds Malts.

She probably should notify all of the potential fathers, but she's not sure she wants to even suggest it to someone like Abby.

——


"I'm huge." Chris spreads her arms expansively, then covers her middle again, suddenly self-conscious.

"You're not," Drapes says, putting down the paper bag that, if the smell is any indication, has hot dogs in it. He drops into the cushy chair across the room and immediately makes himself comfortable, legs sprawled out in front of him.

"I am," she says. She climbs back onto the bed where she's spent most of the past month. "I don't know how Jenna went through this twice."

"She felt the same way you do now, I'm sure. Julie did. The thing is, what did you tell Jenna when she said she felt huge?"

"That she was still beautiful," Chris mumbles. She snuggles up under the covers, then turns onto her side and leans on her elbow to regard Drapes. "The difference is, she's supposed to get pregnant. I'm not."

"I don't think that's a valid argument, Ozzie. You weren't supposed to before, when you were a guy. But you're not a guy anymore."

"Don't remind me. I miss my dick."

"Do you?" Drapes, the jerk, is smiling with amusement. "You didn't seem to miss it all that much a month or two ago."

"Shut up. Of course I do. How would you feel if you woke up and it was missing?"

"That depends. I'm-a-girl missing, or Lorena-Bobbit missing?" Drapes is still wearing that shit-eating grin.

"I hate you."

"No, you don't. I brought you hot dogs."

"On second thought, that's a good point. I'm ravenous." Chris rolls back over and reaches for the paper bag, which smells so enticing she might just die.

"And anyway, Ozzie, you're only a couple months along, right? You can barely tell at this point." There's a pause, as if Drapes is considering whether to be an asshole. Then, because he's a teammate and not Chris's wife, he obviously decides it's the thing to do. "Besides, you're only going to get bigger. Wait till you're six or seven months along."

"I really hate you."

"Or consider the stage when you get really horny. What are you going to do then?"

"Call you up," Chris says, because she can give as good as she can get.

"I'm unavailable," Drapes says primly. "I'm married, remember?"

"That didn't stop you on that road trip," Chris growls.

"Which didn't turn out all that well," Drapes muses. "That could be my baby you're going to be all huge and disgusting from carrying."

Chris grabs a pillow and aims for Drapes's head. The trouble is, she's a goalie, not a forward, so her aim even from this distance isn't all that great—she misses and knocks a lampshade askew.

Drapes tut-tuts. "Don't destroy the hotel room," he advises. "You're stuck here for the next eight months, or whatever. If you ruin everything, what will you do with yourself?"

"It's cruel and unusual punishment to say I'm not huge and then deliberately call me disgusting," Chris grumbles. "I should kick you out and call my wife."

"Why?" Drapes asks curiously. "Will she say how beautiful she thinks you are?"

Maybe it's ammunition, but to wipe the smug look off his friend's face: "She used to say that even before, when I still had my dick in its proper place, and not missing off in the ether somewhere."

"That's because you're a pretty, pretty princess," Drapes tells him.

Chris rolls her eyes heavenward. "Remind me again why I wanted you to come visit?"

"Because you went a little mentally defective there for a minute and thought I wouldn't tease you? C'mon, Ozzie, what kind of friend would I be if I didn't?" Drapes closes his eyes. "I think you're just too sensitive because of all the hormones, honestly," he says, and if Chris didn't know better, she'd think what he's saying is a kindness. The problem is, she knows her best friend a lot better than that.

"Yeah, bring up the hormones," she says, wishing she had another pillow to throw at him—besides the one she's lying on—and better aim.

"If you get all weepy at some tampon commercial," Drapes says, opening his eyes and regarding her with the utmost seriousness—all an act, obviously— "I'm leaving."

Chris opens the bag of hot dogs and tears into one. She has her mouth completely full of hot dog when Drapes comments,

"Yeah, you still have the manners of a guy. Or a badly-trained dog, I'm not sure which."

"Shut up," she says through the mouthful of food. God, she's a broken record. This being pregnant thing sucks. "You know, if I ever get my dick back, I'm not going to make Jenna go through this again for anything. It sucks!"

"I don't know," Drapes says, grinning. "You are glowing."

"With rage, maybe," Chris says as she swallows. "Ah, these are the most delicious things ever."

"You're welcome."

"You're such a dick," Chris says.

"At least I still have mine," Drapes responds, completely unruffled. Chris scowls at him. "So what did Malts say, when you told him you might be having his baby?" Another pause, then Drapes sings softly, "Having my baby,
what a lovely way of saying how much you love me—" pause again "—oh wait, you can't say that, because you don't know who the daddy is."

"You are such an asshole," Chris says, finishing her first hot dog. "Besides, what do you think Malts said? 'What the fuck? You're what?'" Chris repeats.

"Did he—"

"No," Chris says. "He didn't ask if it was his, because he's smart enough to know that it could be his. I just don't know if he realises how many other people I did around the same time." Confessing that out loud is fairly dangerous, but Drapes is her best friend. He might be one of the only people she can really confide in. Nick, after all, bailed the second he found out the baby could be someone else's.

Besides, Drapes might be an asshole, but he probably won't get jealous. Probably.

"Just how many people did you sleep with, Ozzie?" his best friend asks.

"I don't think you want to know," she says. "Oh, that reminds me. You might..." she trails off, peeks at Drapes.

He's looking less unconcerned now. In fact...

"if you don't know who the daddy is," he says slowly, "and you won't tell me how many guys you slept with—all teammates?—you're going to tell me I should get tested, aren't you?"

Chris nods, stuffing her mouth with another hot dog so she won't have to confirm it verbally.

"Just so you know, Oz," Drapes continues, "you're going to have to tell everyone that."

"I know," she mumbles through the hot dog.

"I have to get going," Drapes adds. "It's almost time for practise."

"Have a good time," Chris says, finishing up her hot dogs and then flopping onto her back.

She doesn't look over when the door closes behind him.

At least she doesn't necessarily have to tell everyone she's having a baby.

——


"They should invent pickle-flavoured ice cream," Chris says, reposing on her hotel bed with Malts lying next to her. He likes to cuddle up next to her and press his palm to her belly to feel the baby move about.

He gets especially excited when the baby kicks against his hand.

"I think that would make most normal people throw up," Malts says, hand curved over the swell of her belly. "You know, walking through the grocery store, and bam, there's fucking pickle ice cream on the shelf."

"I still get nauseous sometimes," Chris says. "So you'd think that would make me throw up, but... I just can't help it."

"Ooh! He kicked me again!" Malts rolls onto his side with a grin, and stares raptly at Chris's stomach.

"You should be used to that," Chris comments. "Your wife had your kids, you know."

"But she cheated," Malts says, laughing. "She had two at once."

"Yeah, and I hope it's not your baby, because then I might have two at once, and I definitely don't want that to happen."

"Don't knock it," Malts says. "It was a lot of fucking work but it was worth it. Ozzie," he breathes, and then Malts is leaning up, hand on her belly as he kisses her.

She ought to stop him, she really should, but she's felt so unbelievably fat and gross these last couple months that any expression of desire is almost impossible to turn away. She closes her eyes and relaxes into the kiss, and remembers what it was like to kiss Malts as a boy—and how it's different now, softer somehow.

His stubble still rubs against her cheek roughly, but she can't help but wonder if her lips feel different to Malts.

The baby kicks again and Malts breaks the kiss to stare down in wonder at his hand.

"He's strong," he says, and Chris blinks her eyes open slowly, adjusting to the loss of sensation, and while she wants to drag his head back down, now that she's pregnant she feels guilty about messing around with a married man. Which makes no sense since she used to let him fuck her when she had a cock, and... a tear is forming at the corner of her eye.

"Damn hormones," she mutters hoarsely. But Malts is distracted by the baby, so she can discreetly dash the tear away and try not to be upset about the fact that she's a little bit in love with her best friends, and Nick, and Jenna (of course) but she can't have them all.

That is what got her into this mess, after all—wanting them all. Having them all. And now she's having someone's baby, and she doesn't know whose it is.

Part of her wishes, right at this moment, that it is Malts's baby, because he seems to be genuinely happy with the idea, so thrilled by every aspect of the pregnancy.

"You don't know if it's a boy," she points out, trying to pull her attention away from her maudlin thoughts. "It could be a girl."

"Aren't you going to find out?" Malts asks, glancing back up at her face. He's half lying on her now, though holding his weight off her.

"No," she says. "I want it to be a surprise."

"I'd think who the daddy is would be enough of a surprise," Malts comments, eyebrow quirked.

"Yes, does everyone have to keep reminding me?"

"You know," Malts muses, "if it's Nick's baby, it probably is another fucking boy. He has enough of them."

"If it were Nick's baby—and how did you even know he's a candidate?—wouldn't you be disappointed?"

"No. Because in a strange way, this baby belongs to all of us. And I know about Nick because you two have never been all that discreet. Do you know how many times I've walked in on you two?" Malts finally lies back down next to her, but he doesn't remove his hand.

"Yeah, the baby belongs to everyone because I'm a whore," Chris says. If she sounds depressed... well, she's just going to blame the hormones again.

"You're not—" Malts pauses, considers. "Okay, the behaviour was a little whorish, but I don't think of you that way, and I'm not sure anyone else does, either. Anyway, no one caught anything, and the pregnancy is going okay, so you should try not to worry."

Chris rolls onto her side away from Malts.

"Go home," she says. She's going to cry, she just knows it, and she doesn't want—

But Malts begins to rub her back, slow soothing circles on the broadest part and then more firmly on her lower back to ease some of the pain.

She does cry.

Malts doesn't make any snide comments about the tears, just continues to soothe her with his hands. Whoever says he doesn't have soft hands definitely hasn't had a backrub from him.

She drowses, and Malts kisses between her shoulder-blades. She's vaguely happy, she thinks, as she drifts.

——


Chris misses Syd and Mackenzie. She misses Jenna, too. Jenna visits sometimes, and so do Drapes and Malts, and Helm won't stop calling her—she really started something there that she shouldn't finish—but Nick is totally incommunicado.

She has a little calendar, and she marks off each day so that she remembers to call Syd, just like she promised.

She's nearing the end of her pregnancy—just two months left—and it's awkward, in a hotel room alone day after day. Especially knowing that Nick is angry at her.

She deserves it, she supposes; she did make it with almost the entire team, and Nick is likely jealous, though she hadn't realised before how deep his feelings had run.

She's told Babs at this point, and so she's apparently had season-ending sports hernia surgery, and her agent has released information that she's expecting another baby with her wife; Jenna has, true to their plan, been going out looking more and more pregnant.

"I hate this," Chris says to the ceiling as she lies on her back. She can never get comfortable enough to sleep anymore.

"At least I'm not having twins," she adds. The ceiling is remarkably, unsurprisingly silent. She reaches up behind her head for the stuffed lion Syd sent her off with, and cuddles it to her chest.

"I want this baby to be born already," she tells it, as if the toy is somehow going to be more responsive than the ceiling.

"I want—" Her cell phone rings.

Dropping the lion to the bed next to her, she hits the button.

"Hey," she says, and Jenna says hi back.

"How are you feeling?"

"Stir crazy," Chris mumbles into the phone. "And I can't go anywhere because I might be recognised."

"Not much longer, babe. I'll be by this afternoon to bring you anything you need. Do you—"

"Peanut butter cookies and Oreos," Chris says. "I want to mix them together. And this sweatshirt is getting too snug around the middle. Oh, and it's starting to get warm out. I wish—"

"Don't mention the playoffs," Jenna advises. "Don't torment yourself."

"I should be out there," Chris complains. "I let the team down."

"Unless you somehow turned yourself into a girl, you didn't—"

"Jenna, I got pregnant. That was my fault. You can't act like it isn't."

"Maybe not, but who says you could've been playing while you're a girl? Just get some more rest, sweetheart. I'll come by this afternoon."

——


There's a serious, unbelievable, terrifying problem when Jenna opens the door that afternoon.

Chris woke up from her nap, and... well, the first thing she noticed was that her dick was back. The second thing he noticed was that his belly was still as round and swollen and pregnant-looking as ever.

"I am a pregnant man!" Chris shouts, and Jenna claps her hand over his mouth.

"Relax! And don't say it so loud..."

"I, look." Chris yanks down his velour women's pants and points to his cock, dangling in its proper place between his legs. Then he points to his belly.

"We'll figure something out," Jenna says. "I'm sure the baby can still be born."

"Yeah, and how are we going to hide the fact that somehow, I'm a guy, and I'm having a baby?"

"We can't hide it," Jenna says. "The doctors might all go crazy trying to understand it, but that's incontrovertible proof right there. So that's just how it is."

Chris grabs the stuffed lion and tries to hide his too-pregnant belly behind it.

It doesn't really work.

——


Chris thought that two months left of being pregnant was bad enough. Now that he's lying in bed, with all the appropriate parts—and a few that he is pretty sure aren't appropriate parts for his gender—it's even worse.

He worries, first of all. What will this do to the baby? What will it do to his career, too? Will the pregnancy strain his system so much that he can't play anymore?

Secondly, he's so bored. Hotel TV stopped being interesting about four months ago—even the porn channels—and besides, sex was what got him into this mess, and porny reminders are not helping.

He's tried calling Nick, but it always goes, suspiciously, to voicemail, as if Nick is still not speaking to him.

Chris switches off the TV. He has an e-reader that Jenna bought not long after he moved into the hotel, but reading doesn't really seem interesting either. He flicks through a few pages of a book and then shuts it off, closes his eyes.

The stuffed lion has been joined by a G.I. Joe, which apparently Syd thinks is all the rage at the moment. Jenna brought that by a few days ago. It's actually jabbing into his hip as he lies in bed, facing the ceiling but with his eyes still closed because if he counts the ceiling tiles one more time, he's going to go insane.

Chris grabs the doll and holds it up in front of his face, reluctantly opening his eyes. Its gun appears to be what was pressing into his hip—figures, a pregnant man being held up by a doll.

Chris laughs a little hysterically and covers his face with his hands. How on earth he's going to keep this out of the National Enquirer—or worse, the Detroit Free Press—he has no idea.

Doctors could squeal. Enough money offered or simply the lure of a scientific impossibility and he could be in big trouble.

He has to stuff a fist in his mouth to subdue the crazy laughter. He's officially cracking up.

And his agent hasn't called to tell him what they're saying he's going into the hospital for, since clearly that's going to get out.

He's just turning on the TV again—at this point, finding out whether Brenda killed her step-brother (the one she was sleeping with) with a sawed-off shotgun sounds more interesting than thinking so much that he goes funny in the head—when his cell phone chirps cheerfully at him.

Maybe it's Syd or Mackenzie, he thinks hopefully as he picks it up.

It's not. It's Babs.

"Ozzie," he says, "how are you doing?"

Turned back into a boy, still pregnant, Chris thinks.

"Bored. You know. Tired."

"We've been saying that you had surgery, but the PR guy thinks it might come out if you wind up back in the hospital. So you're going to have some complications that require another minor surgery."

"And..." oh wait, he can't ask that question. Babs doesn't know.

Oh, shit.

"Let me know when you're on your way to the hospital," Babs says. "We'll release a statement then. Until then, rest up and come back healthy."

Babs doesn't say it, but come back a boy is definitely implied. If he only knew.

Chris covers his face with a pillow. Maybe if he holds it over his nose and mouth long enough, he'll smother himself to death and he won't have to worry about it.

The phone rings again. When he glances at the display, he groans. It's Helm—again. At this point, Helm calls more often than Howie does.

He's about to reject the call again—he only takes Helm's calls occasionally—when he sighs and gives it up. He doesn't have anything better to do.

"Hi, Helmer," he says, feeling exhaustion slowly overtake him.

"Ozzie," Helmer says urgently, "I have a problem."

"What's the problem?" he asks, and he can hear Helm swallow even over the line.

"I like this girl but... I mean... you think you could show me what to do again?"

Yikes. This is a sticky situation. He's not a girl anymore, and from the sound of things, Helm's forgotten about—oh, crap. Chris never did explain to Helm that he's pregnant, and maybe no one else did, either.

This could be Helm's baby. Oh, this isn't happening.

"I can't," he tells Helm. "There's nothing I can do for you. Go ask Drapes. I gotta go."

He hangs up without waiting for a reply and counts the ceiling tiles again.

That pillow is starting to sound like a really good idea.

——


The EMTs will only listen to, stomach pain; they won't entertain the idea, I'm pregnant, you morons, so Chris spends the time in the ambulance wondering what it's going to be like at the hospital, and whether he can avoid the media.

Because stomach pains or not, you'd think somebody would notice that a formerly fit goalie now has a gigantic belly. And stomach pains.

Jenna tightens her hold on his hand.

"It's okay, babe. They'll figure it out."

Chris grits his teeth against the pain. "Call Babs again," he tells her. "Tell him that his male goalie is on the way to the hospital to give birth."

——


In the delivery room, after round after round of disbelief and accusation that he's trying to fuck with them, they finally figure out that the stomach pain is real, the contractions are real, and that the ultrasound shows a full-term baby inside trying to get out.

When he's born, Chris doesn't hold him first. He just closes his eyes and lets Jenna take his son.

And then he grabs his cell phone. It takes quite awhile, but he calls everyone who might be the father, ending with Nick—who has probably been told by now that Chris is in the hospital, delivering the baby. He hopes that because of that, Nick will take his call.

"Nicky," he greets as his old friend and lover answers the phone. "I've decided. Jenna and I will take care of this baby. I don't need to know who the father is."

"Are you sure? What about—"

"Everyone thinks it's best. I'll just have a lot of babysitters. Someone told me once, anyway, that this baby basically belongs to all of us. And I think I prefer it that way."

"Well, if you're sure," Nick says, but he sounds relieved, and much less stressed than every other time he's spoken to Chris lately.

"Yeah. It's the right thing to do. I was stupid, you know? And careless. I don't think I need to foist my mistake off on everyone else."

"Everyone...?" Nick asks, a trifle gingerly. Conscious that Jenna is in the delivery room with him, he tries to dissemble. Just a little. For both of their sakes, really.

"You're better off not knowing," Chris says. "Trust me on this, though."

"What if it's my baby?" Nick asks quietly. "I wouldn't want to not know my baby."

"Do you want to recognise it?" Chris counters. "Your wife—would she want to know you'd somehow fathered a baby? Look, Nick, the truth is there's no way to explain this situation. Even the people who know and who have known don't believe it. So why would Annika? She'll conclude you cheated on her with another woman, and—"

"I did cheat on her with another woman," Nick says, very softly as if to make sure no one overhears.

"I'm still your teammate," Chris reminds him. "And she was okay with us before. Which is exactly why you don't want to know for sure that the baby's yours. Because she wouldn't be okay with that."

"I guess." There's a long, quiet pause, even Nick's breathing inaudible over the line. "Can I come see the baby in the hospital?"

"Everyone thinks it's Jenna's baby," Chris says. "So you can come visit him."

"It's a boy?" Nick sounds a little bit excited.

"Relax," Chris says wryly. "You have enough boys as it is."

"I'll stop by. Should I bring flowers?"

"Wiseass. I'll see you then," Chris says, saying his good-byes and hanging up the phone. He rubs his eyes tiredly, feeling stretched out and worn and sore.

And that's when Jenna hands him his son.

His baby. All of the heartache, but he can't help but love him the instant he sees him. All that craziness, but this is the result. The soreness fades a little. The tiredness takes a backseat.

He'd forgotten how much he loved this moment: meeting your child for the first time, like when each of his girls were born—that one shining moment in his life. Well, three of them, now.

The baby has blonde hair. Though it could hold touches of red, Chris isn't sure.

"Hi, Max," he whispers, and the baby opens his blue eyes and regards his daddy.

It really doesn't matter whose baby it is, because in the end, it's Chris's baby after all.

——


Chris never finds out exactly what happened. He's just thankful that, as he brings his two-month-old in to see everyone in the locker room, he's back to being a guy.

Being a girl had its perks, it's true (and he's not talking about the perky nipples), but it also came with Max, the unexpected surprise.

He just hopes it never happens again.

Fin.

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