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The Solution

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Damn, Edward thought, looking at the alarm clock. The red digits informed him it was four-oh-one am. Great. Not still early enough to get up and drink beer, not late enough to get up and go to work.

It really wasn't fair, he thought, that he'd blanked out during a mission and Henry had got to blow the C4 and save the day. Henry didn't even like blowing stuff up. Goddamn Henry got nervous just handling a gun. Now he'd woken up he was stuck here in Henry's bed with Henry's wife asleep next to him and Henry's kids just a few doors away.

If he'd wanted to be the typical white suburban male, married with 2 kids and a dog, he'd have gone to law school rather than joined the army.

He thought about waking up Angie for a little early morning delight but decided against it. After all, wasn't sex a major part of his latest spat with Henry? Not, this time, the fact of the Edward persona having sex with the Henry persona's wife, but the fact that Henry and Angie had agreed to try for another child.

Edward pushed back the covers and slid out of bed, cursing as he saw Henry's choice of boxer shorts. The man had no fashion sense. The German Shepard looked up and tipped its head questioningly, one ear cocked, and gave a short whine. Of all the house's inhabitants, the non-human one was the only one who could tell the difference between Edward and Henry.

"Hey," Edward said, crouching down. "Truce, okay? I'll walk you. There's nothing else fun to do at four am."

It was quiet out, and chilly, the early morning being overcast and with a hint of drizzle in the air. Edward let the dog sniff at the grass verges, not really having a destination in mind. He'd just wanted to get out and clear his head.

That Henry had decided to go ahead and have a third child was irritating in the extreme; Edward had left him a message telling him no way. He'd never had to help with the brats before, being "asleep" while Henry lived his boring little life. Things were different now and diaper changing was not something he was up for. Henry had responded with a message that basically said, "Tough." That was three days ago and there had been resolution to the issue yet; Edward still hadn't approached Norah about it in case she sided with Henry.

Dammit, it was his body too, wasn't it; it'd be different if he were female, right? There had been that incident with Dana a couple of years back, now he thought about it.

Dana's civilian counterpart Wendy had got married and over the next several years, had given birth to three children, a fairly standard scenario for the civilian personas. Usually when something like pregnancy, or serious injury, incapacitated an agent to the point where they couldn't do their jobs, the civilian persona was kept awake until such a time the agent could resume their duties. However Dana had genius-level cryptography skills and was an expert in over a dozen obscure languages and dialects. These skills meant she had been woken up and brought back into Janus several times during the pregnancies and post-birth periods to urgently translate or decipher vital information.

When Wendy decided she wanted a fourth child, Dana told Mavis it was not going to happen. She'd spent 25 months of her life already being pregnant and that one child was good for appearances and three more than enough, but four was taking the piss. Dana said wasn't getting any younger and was not going to miss out on any further missions just because Wendy loved breastfeeding. Dana hated it; in fact she had ranted about it once to Edward, which was how he knew this. In the two and half minutes before he'd snapped out of his shock at the subject matter and stopped her raving, he'd learnt more than he'd ever wanted to know about that part of the female anatomy.

Despite Dana's refusal, Wendy got her way and became pregnant. About three weeks into the pregnancy, she miscarried and Dana got her way.

Mavis knew that Wendy's miscarriage was almost certainly directly due to an intervention by Dana, but they were already operating in a distinctly grey moral area and, as Dana had pointed out, while it wasn't really her life anymore, it was her body, and pregnancy did directly affect her combat effectiveness.

Meanwhile Wendy still wanted to get pregnant again. Dana said they had better wipe her then and let Wendy have the body, or it was going to get messy.

Tony had finally intervened by giving Wendy some false memories in which she'd been advised to get sterilised, and had reluctantly agreed to it. Job done.

Edward yanked on the lead as the dog wandered too close to the road for his liking. If he got the dog killed Henry would never forgive him. And Henry was going to be angry enough with him after what he'd just decided to do.

Fake IDs were stock in trade for Edward. Usually they were supplied by the company but there were times when certain things needed to be done off the books and Edward knew people who knew how to acquire such things.

The money wasn't a problem either. Getting an appointment and keeping it secret from Henry was a walk in the park. Henry was useless at hiding things from Edward but if Edward wanted something hidden it stayed that way.

"Mr Harold Jones" had never wanted children and he was ready and willing (and with the cash upfront) to make sure he didn't have any. He was also divorced and not wanting the unfortunate incident (his wife getting pregnant by another man and claiming it was his) that led to the divorce to happen again. All these things considered, and given his age, he was quickly approved for the procedure.

"Harold"'s vasectomy was quick and relatively painless, though Edward did pop a couple of painkillers, knowing Henry had a low pain threshold. This fact had struck him as odd, given that they shared the same body and therefore the same nerves and neural responses; he could only imagine it was due to his training which had taught him to ignore pain as much as possible.

Edward had thought about making up a story about how he had received a groin injury; after all, it was standard procedure for the civilians to be given mundane explanations for any injuries received by the body while it was occupied by the military persona. In the finish however, he decided he owed Henry the truth.

"Henry, I warned you," he told the cell phone. "No more kids. You have two great kids, one of each gender. I don't know what you hope for having another one, but forget it. I've taken steps to ensure the status quo remains that way. To be blunt, this afternoon, we had a vasectomy.

"Yeah, you're probably freaking out now, and getting all 'invasion of privacy' but you know, what you were doing against my wishes wasn't much better. Like it or not, this is my life too. I have to be there for the all the everyday crap of your life and you have to be in the dangerous situations that make up mine. We're in it together. So if you stop making unilateral decisions like having another kid, I'll stop making unilateral decisions like cutting off your sperm supply."

He let his tone become more menacing as he went on, after a brief pause to let Henry take that in.

"I can make your life much more difficult, Henry. I can be a crazy drunk around Angie, insult her, tell her I want a divorce. And your pathetic attempts to undo the damage will just make you look schizophrenic and drive her further away. I can do far less damaging, but very inconvenient things to you, from deleting personal computer files to messing up your credit rating. Don't screw with me, Henry. You may share my body but you're not me and you don't have the ruthless streak I do."

He paused another moment, imagined the impassioned outrage Henry would be experiencing, and gave him half a minute to express it before continuing.

"I'm not sorry, Henry, and I won't pretend I am. I do regret that it had to come to this. I know you think it's a betrayal but I will say this just once. It's my body too. You know, I'd like to get a tattoo to replace the two I had lasered off to be you, but I know you'd never agree to it, so I haven't. This will be the only time I violate us in this way. So, just let's accept this and move past it, okay?"

He was about to hang up the phone, then reconsidered.

"One more thing. Yes, vasectomy reversal is often possible, but you'll have to wait 'til we heal up before you do that, and good luck explaining how you got the initial procedure when it doesn't show up on your medical records. And if I find out you're attempting such a thing, the next measure I take will be far more drastic."

He hung up and swung round in Henry's home office chair, tapping the phone against his chin. That last part somewhat contradicted his promise to never violate their body again, but it didn't count because he didn't mean it. Henry might assume, with horror, he'd been alluding to castration, but Edward enjoying having sex far too much to even consider such a thing.

However it never hurt to keep Henry on his toes, to keep one step ahead of him; something that was a pitifully easy to do. For every problem Henry caused him there was a solution and the sooner Henry realised that and stopped fighting him at every turn, the better.

The first message Edward got from Henry started with "You bastard!" After a couple of weeks went by however, Henry calmed down somewhat. In fact, after Edward had taken over the body just in time to save their life again, Henry had left a message of gratitude, and even said he was sorry for the whole "baby thing" and that they should have had a discussion and not an argument. He still didn't agree with what Edward had done, but now that it was done, there was no point arguing over it anymore.

A few weeks after that, Edward almost fell off his chair when Henry, after explaining the latest problems he'd caused, said, almost casually, "What sort of tattoo were you thinking of?"

Edward grinned. Now, if he could steer Henry away from the names of the wife and kids, they could get some ink they'd both be proud of, and he'd feel like the body truly did still belong to him as well.