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One Papaya, Two Papaya

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“That settles it,” Vision determined, rearranging the pillows behind his wife’s back. “I simply will not take my eyes off of you for the remainder of the pregnancy.”

Wanda sighed tolerantly, then pulled out the final pillow he’d added and lobbed it gently back into the crib. She hadn’t devoted all this time to honing her telekinetic powers just to borrow from the unborn Tommy. With a beckoning gesture, she had a replacement cushion soaring into the nursery from the living room. Just her luck that her mind wandered while the thing was airborne; it bopped her in the side of the head as she was attempting to follow that thought back, the one about perfecting her powers. She certainly hadn’t done that since they’d moved into this house, but she must have at some point. The fact that she’d been able to whip up breakfast-for-dinner under significant stress was a heck of a testament to her control.

“Darling!”

Vision sprang to her aid and Wanda let him fuss, brushing her disheveled hair back into place.

“It was only a pillow,” she told her fretting husband. “You worry too much. Besides, you can’t watch me all the time.”

“Oh, but I can. And I should! I can’t help feeling I’ve been rather negligent.”

“Negligent? Vision, how could you think that?” She smiled soothingly up at him.

Waving her hand, she brought in a chair from the kitchen. In his extreme focus on her, Vision sat with perfect obedience and considerable absentmindedness.

“I showed the doctor out and missed a full two months of your pregnancy! What kind of husband could I call myself if I were absent for another moment of it?”

“What about work? After you made such a… memorable impression on Mr. Hart at dinner, I thought you said he’d really begun to count on you.”

“Yes, that is true, but if I claimed illness for a couple of days, that’s hardly any fault of mine.”

Wanda frowned.

“Are you sure? He didn’t seem like the most understanding man.”

“I’ll stay here with you,” Vision pledged, ignoring her concerns. He leaned forward in his seat and took her hand between both of his. “I’ve left Mr. Hart plenty of my work to review while I’m away. You know I am slightly more efficient than the average employee.”

Her stern expression yielded in the face of her husband’s persuasive smile. If Tommy turned out anything like his father, she’d need to be wary of this ability to subtly get his own way.

“I suppose, if it’s only until Friday…”

“Of course, Wanda, darling. I’ll be right back at it Monday morning, now that we’ll have another mouth to feed. Nose to the grindstone!”

“Aww,” she said, reaching out to run a finger down that nose. “The grindstone wouldn’t stand a chance.”

He caught her fingers and kissed across the knuckles before abruptly dropping her hand. Wanda was taken aback as Vision intertwined his own fingers beneath his chin, propping his head up as he stared fixedly at her rounded belly.

Vision.”

“Hmm?” He didn’t glance up.

“This intense observation won’t do. It’s unsettling.”

“I must be prepared.”

“For what? For the bump to get bigger? It will, we already know that.” Wanda placed a protective hand over their rapidly growing baby.

“But if I’m watching,” he mumbled, “I will be able to monitor the exact rate of growth, the frequency of disturbances—”

“Kicks, Viz,” she reminded him with a soft laugh.

“Kicks, right, yes, of course. And you are the only one,” he informed the baby, leaning forward even farther as he spoke directly to her belly, “who is ever allowed to treat my wife thusly.”

Her memory twinged as she instinctively opened her mouth to point out… what? She wasn’t hurt. She couldn’t recall suffering any serious injury. An example of something more powerful and painful than the gentle nudge of one of Tommy’s extremities was on the tip of her tongue, and then it wasn’t. Like melted ice cream, dissolved cotton candy, sugar, sweet… yes, sweet, their life was sweet. Maybe things were developing a little faster than normal, Wanda acknowledged, rubbing her bump under Vision’s watchful eye, but it was nothing to worry about. When the baby arrived, they’d find a second to sit down and think about this. It could be explained. And the sudden appearance of a newborn, that could be explained to any suspicious neighbours. It was all… natural. It could all be explained.

“What was that?” Vision demanded, straightening up. “Did Billy just get bigger?”

Tommy, and it was probably just an illusion. My hand shifting my dress. Don’t get jumpy on me, Vision. I need you to be the calm one.”

“So sorry.” He shook his head and concentrated once more. “If only we had something a bit more solid to go on. Between the pregnancy books from the library and Dr. Nielsen’s gestational fruit salad, I know I should be able to wrap my processer around this, but, frankly, the process is extraordinary. I can make sense of information far more quickly than any father-to-be in history and I find myself staggered regardless.”

Vision glanced up wonderingly to meet Wanda’s eye.

“We’re about to be parents. It’s a lot to chew on.”

Her eyes went wide and she snapped her fingers in epiphany, accidentally causing the crib to hop.

“Chew!”

“Yes, darling, that’s what I…”

Flicking her hair back over her shoulders, Wanda passed a hand around the growing sphere of her stomach, not touching but scanning, as she’d done to figure out what had made her husband act so wacky during their magic show. She gasped at the partial view of their son that her examination afforded her, extending her other hand reassuringly towards Vision when he leapt from his seat.

“Everything’s alright,” she told him, head still tilted downward.

“Is the papaya still infant-sized? I mean, is the infant still a papaya? I mean, gosh, well, you know,” Vision rambled, pacing tightly in front of her.

“I’d say…” Wanda said thoughtfully, anticipating the next kick as she witnessed the baby’s squirming. “…he’s roughly the size of a… goodness!”

“A goodness?”

She couldn’t respond. Their son’s shifting had revealed an extra foot. An extra pair of legs. Wanda stood swiftly and bent forward, attempting to view every possible angle. There was an entire extra baby! Mouth hanging open, she looked to Vision.

“What is it?” he asked, expression desperate.

“Well, Viz,” Wanda said carefully, “it’s a little more complicated than chewing gum.”