Chapter 1: Chapter One
Just another Friday night date. Gliding over the Chicago skyline, followed by dinner at the Olive Garden. And maybe the Olive Garden is nowhere near as fancy as when Jupiter had eaten on Titus’s clipper, but they make a mean seafood alfredo. And you can’t go wrong with unlimited breadsticks. Jupiter has surreptitiously stuffed the extras into her overlarge purse. Old habits die hard.
Weird to think that Jupiter Jones, Recurrence of Her Royal Highness Seraphi Abrasax and owner of approximately half the galaxy could be so happy doing something so mundanely human. What can she say? The company is great.
“Oh my God,” Jupiter moans, scooping up another piece of chocolate mousse cake. Going out to a restaurant without plastic menus – and getting dessert – is still a novelty, and Jupiter is eager to take advantage. “This is amazing – Caine you have to try this – ”
She offers him her fork, licking her lips to savour the taste. Caine’s eyes sharpen with interest and Jupiter’s breath catches.
“I would be honoured to try some, Your Majesty,” says Caine.
“We’re in public, you can call me Jupiter,” she reminds him. Then a concerning thought occurs to her. “Wait – can you even have chocolate?”
The corner of Caine’s mouth quirks up. “Yes, Your Majesty, I can have chocolate. I was designed to be resistant to most toxins. Soldiers who sicken easily are a liability.”
Jupiter eyes him speculatively, offering up her fork again. “So basically you have a resistance to Iocaine powder?”
Caine’s brow puckers in confusion, and Jupiter stifles a laugh with her hand, the cake threatening to slide off her fork. Too fast for her eyes to track, Caine’s hand whips out and straightens the fork. Meeting her gaze, he slowly guides the fork into his mouth. His lips close around the fork and Jupiter’s mouth goes dry. Caine’s eyelashes drift closed as he takes his time enjoying the taste. Jupiter feels warmth pooling low in her belly in response.
“I guess we found another movie to add to our watch list,” she says, leaning forward. Caine smiles in response. At first amused by Earth’s “primitive” 2D entertainment systems, he has quickly adapted to movie nights curled up together on his new loveseat. It’s oddly refreshing to have a boyfriend who doesn’t equate “movie night” with “groping on the couch.” Jupiter loves making out with Caine – God, who wouldn’t? – but she doesn’t take kindly to dudes who don’t understand how important it is to watch the whole damn movie.
Caine does have an annoying tendency to point out inaccuracies in sci fi movies, but Jupiter loves him anyways.
Jupiter magnanimously allows Caine to finish her dessert and waves the waiter over, sliding her shiny black space credit card over the table to foot the bill.
Caine has secured a small bachelor’s suite a short flight from her family’s house. As her personal security detail, Caine insists it’s critical that he be close by at all times.
Of course, this arrangement offers certain other advantages… privacy being one of them. Jupiter grabs the lapels of Caine’s space leather jacket and maneuvers him down onto the double mattress. Caine’s hands rest lightly on her hips as she straddles him. “Is this okay?” she asks.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” Caine says, causing her to shiver. The bastard smirks at her, stroking his hands up and down her sides and daring to squeeze her ass teasingly.
In retaliation, Jupiter sweeps her airy blouse over her head and unclasps her bra. Jupiter feels like royalty indeed as he looks up at her. “Your turn,” she says, and Caine obediently sheds his jacket and shirt. His gorgeous wings unfurl proudly behind him.
Jupiter bites her lip appreciatively. “Shoulder to hip ratio of a Dorito,” she says.
By now, Caine has learned to roll with the multitude of weird sayings that come out of Jupiter’s mouth. “Do I please Your Majesty?” he says, his voice low and rumbly.
“Very much,” Jupiter replies, guiding his mouth to hers. Caine follows easily. He’s a damn good kisser, as she has discovered from the many heated make-out sessions they’ve shared. And a perfect gentleman, which is so incredibly endearing. By their second official date, she had realized it would be up to her to take the lead. A nice change after a string of exes who were into her pants without so much as a “may I take these off?”
She eases herself off his lap and tugs him on top of her. Caine zeroes in on her pulse point, giving it a quick nip before moving to claim her mouth again. Jupiter melts down into the mattress, feeling crackles of heat wherever their bare skin touches.
“Wait – wait,” Jupiter says, leaning away from the kiss. Immediately, Caine pulls back and rests his forehead against hers, breathing hard. His wings flex in tandem with his breaths.
“Do we need a condom?” Jupiter asks. There might be some in her purse. God, are they expired? She racks her brains, trying to remember when she last bought some.
Caine pulls back, perplexed. “A what?”
Another information gap in Caine’s guidebook to Earth. Jupiter stifles a smile. “Birth control. Do I have anything to fear from your super soldier swimmers?”
Caine drops his gaze and sits on his haunches. “Ah – no. Lycantants aren’t designed to breed. Not without permission.” The corners of his mouth are turned down, and Jupiter leans forward and kisses the side of his face.
“Perfect,” she murmurs into his skin. “Because I can’t remember if I have any and that’s a real inconvenience when I’m five seconds away from tearing your pants off.”
Caine stills. “Your Majesty would – permit me - ”
“Your Majesty commands you,” Jupiter corrects.
Like a good solider, Caine obeys.
8 months later
Jupiter is late.
Okay, so punctuality in general isn’t one of her virtues. Until learning she was actually royalty, her mother and Nino had had to drag her out of bed by her hair. And this appears to be encoded in her genes, as she’s never had a regular cycle.
But. Her period has never been this late. And her boobs have been sore lately, and she’s been feeling so very tired. Despite having had a full night of beauty sleep for the past week. Caine has been called away on a mission with the Aegis and isn’t expected back for another week.
Jupiter hugs her middle, selfishly wishing she could go back in time and revoke her permission for him to go. They’ve talked a lot over the past months about Caine exerting his own autonomy. Jupiter is very clear that Caine be allowed to make his own decisions, even if they disagree. Even if it means he has to leave her on Earth for a while. Her royal guard was appointed a few months back, but it’s not the same as having him near 24/7.
To her annoyance, her throat and eyes sting with unshed tears. Mood swings – add another odd symptom to the list.
Gurit, captain of her royal guard and her current escort, clears her throat delicately. “Are you all right, Your Majesty?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Jupiter says, flashing a quick smile.
Maybe it’s stupid – impossible is a better word – but some niggling feeling in her gut is telling her this isn’t a coincidence. She looks up and down the family planning aisle in her pharmacy, making sure she hasn’t seen anyone she knows. She can trust Gurit to be discreet. A six-foot-tall lioness splice is intimidating enough to cause curious neighbours to swallow any awkward questions.
Hard to imagine anyone else being in a weirder situation right now. Grabbing a couple of pregnancy tests, she heads to the counter to pay.
Has it been a minute yet? Jupiter looks at the time on her phone. Fifty-four seconds remaining.
Okay. It’s not the first pregnancy scare she’s had. And she’s been lucky before, so who’s to say she won’t be again?
Jupiter picks up her phone, and sets it down. She rubs her sweaty palms down her jeans, then picks at a hangnail. A disgusting habit, but it always seems to get the worst of her at times like these.
Nineteen seconds. Jupiter forces her gaze away from the countdown and squeezes her eyes shut. Nausea swells and Jupiter swallows hard to force it down. Another sign, or just the sketchy donair she had for lunch?
“Don’t Stop Believing” plays, signaling the end of the timer. Jupiter’s hand trembles as she looks down.
Two pink lines.
“Fuck,” Jupiter says, eloquently.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
Jupiter comes to grips with the news. Caine finds out.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
In retrospect, Jupiter is lucky it was Katharine who caught her barfing into the freshly scrubbed toilet rather than her mother.
“Oh my God, Jupe!” exclaims Katharine, rushing into the room.
Feeling wretched, Jupiter flushes the toilet and gingerly leans back onto the cold tile of the bathroom floor. “I’m okay,” she says hoarsely, when she trusts her voice.
“Are you sure?” Katharine says anxiously, although she looks a little green. “Can I get you anything?”
“Water might be nice,” Jupiter croaks, and Katharine rushes out of the en suite to the mini fridge in her bedroom.
Moving in slow mo to avoid any more gastric eruptions, Jupiter pushes herself to her feet. Katharine returns and hands Jupiter a chilled bottle of Perrier, cap off. Jupiter accepts it with a nod and presses the cool surface to her sweaty temple.
Katharine waits while Jupiter rinses her mouth and cautiously takes a few sips of water, then leans on the long bathroom counter.
“Are you coming down with something?” Katharine asks, coming to perch beside Jupiter.
“Not exactly,” Jupiter hedges. Katharine waits expectantly.“I’m pregnant.”
Katharine gasps. “Oh my God! Is this the new guy? Kyle? Caleb? No – Caine!”
Jupiter nods wearily. Katharine puts her hand on Jupiter’s shoulder. “Have you… decided anything?” she asks delicately.
Jupiter shakes her head. “I need to tell him soon. He’s away on a – business trip, but he’ll be back in a few days. God, I can’t even imagine what he’ll say to this.” Tears swell in Jupiter’s eyes and she pulls off her rubber gloves to wipe them away, careful not to smudge her eyeliner.
Katharine squeezes Jupiter’s shoulder. “These things happen. And if he really loves you, he’ll support you no matter what.”
“It’s complicated,” Jupiter says, sniffling. “We thought he couldn’t have kids. This is so completely out of left field.”
“Oh, honey,” Katharine sighs. “If you need anything, let me know.” She hands Jupiter a tissue, and Jupiter blots at her face before noisily blowing her nose.
“Thanks,” Jupiter says, mustering up a smile. “I should get going. I still have one more place to finish today.” The thought of more cleaning is almost unbearable. A wave of dizziness ensues, and Jupiter waits for an accompanying swell of nausea to ebb before leaning down for her basket of cleaning supplies.
“Oh wait – the toilet,” Jupiter says.
“Don’t worry about it,” says Katharine kindly. “You know I’ve got a spare bathroom. And Peter wants me to stay over tonight anyways.” She twists the cap back on Jupiter's water bottle.
Jupiter nods, thinking of her family, who used to live crammed into a house with two bathrooms. Which brings up thoughts of the Abrasax family, and how many bathrooms could there be in one palace alone? Who does the cleaning?
Not her problem, Jupiter reminds herself as she picks up the basket, cradling the bottled water in the crook of her arm. “Thanks again, Katharine. See you next week!” Katharine waves her off, still watching Jupiter like she's a barf bomb set to go off any moment. Time to get used to those looks, Jupiter supposes.
Jupiter eases her way out of the apartment to her car parked outside. It's pretty much like working through a hangover. A fucking terrible hangover. No sweat.
With help from Caine, Stinger, and Advocate Bob, Jupiter has managed to access her a portion of her considerable inheritance. Impressed with Advocate Bob’s service on Orous, Jupiter offered him a permanent position as her advisor. Advocate Bob had been only too happy to accept, and now dwells in a modest ship that is kept in orbit directly above Chicago.
As far as Jupiter’s family is concerned, she has won the lottery. The Keepers have proven surprisingly useful now that they aren’t trying to kill her at every opportunity. Their influence has given Jupiter the means to secure green cards for herself and her family, although she isn’t quite sure how to bring that up yet. It is her hope that someday her mother and Aunt Nino can give up their cleaning work. Moving out of Uncle Vassily’s house has been a big enough adjustment, and Jupiter hasn’t pushed for more yet.
Now, Jupiter has her own condo in a nice building, and her mother and Aunt Nino have moved into a small townhouse nearby. There are some parts of her life that Jupiter isn’t quite ready to give up, like housecleaning. Although she has taken pleasure in giving up some of her more disagreeable clients, Jupiter continues to work five days a week, ostensibly to save for a trip abroad.
There is something deeply satisfying about cleaning. If only it were so easy to organize her life. These eight months with Caine have been a delightful reprieve from the demands of her inheritance. Reality has finally caught up with them, and karma is a bitch. She should have known it was too good to last.
But pregnancy? So, so far off her fucking radar.
What she wouldn’t give for a good old assassination attempt.
Jupiter paces the floor of Caine’s apartment, digging her nails into the palms of her hands. He is due back any minute, and Jupiter is still trying to decide how in God’s name she is going to break the news. What if his super wolf smell genes allow him to detect the pregnancy?
A soft hum announces Caine’s arrival, and she spins around. Despite her anxiety, Jupiter feels her face break into a huge grin. She practically sprints into his arms, and his wings flare out for balance as she crashes into him.
“I missed you so much,” Jupiter says, feeling her throat close up. Rapidly, she blinks back tears. Fucking pregnancy hormones. She hasn’t cried this much since she temporarily went on birth control as a teenager and drove the family nuts with her mood swings.
“I missed you too, Jupiter,” says Caine. Hearing her name from his lips gives her a warm, shivery feeling and she draws back to look up at him. His boots give him extra height advantage today and so she cradles his face to draw him down for a soft kiss.
Almost immediately, Caine deepens the kiss. His wings fold around them, cradling her close. He licks into her mouth as if he means to devour her. Jupiter breaks off the kiss before her thoughts get any hazier.
“I have something to tell you,” she says, gently disentangling herself from his arms. Her thoughts still tend to get all mushy when he touches her, and she needs to be clear-headed for this. Focused. Find the right words. “It – might be kind of shocking.”
Caine regards her seriously. “I have seen many strange things in this universe, Jupiter. It would take a great deal to shock me.”
“Okay. Okay,” Jupiter says, licking her lips and clapping her hands together. “I’m just – just gonna spit it out.”
There’s a prolonged pause, and Caine finally reaches out to tilt her chin up. Clears his throat. “Jupiter?”
“I’m pregnant,” Jupiter blurts out.
Caine sways on his feet, and Jupiter is pretty sure it’s only his military training that keeps him standing. She regrets not having insisted he sit for the news.
She grabs his forearms and squeezes gently. “Caine? You still with me?”
He remains unresponsive, staring into a space just over her left ear. There is only one way to get through to him now.
“Caine, SIT!” Jupiter barks. Caine’s gaze snaps to hers, and almost immediately he is seated on the loveseat. Jupiter curls up next to him and takes his hand. Hesitates. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” he says hoarsely. “Are – Your Majesty is certain –”
“As sure as I can get from a drug store test. Well, three,” Jupiter amends. “I – didn’t want to go to a doctor. Wasn’t sure if…”
“If the fetus would be normal.” Caine’s voice is dull, and Jupiter feels disappointment blooming like a bruise.
“I’m sorry,” she says quietly.
“Your Majesty has nothing to apologize for,” Caine says, voice strained. “I am a splice, and you are an Entitled. This was never supposed to be.”
Anger spikes within her. Any system where a person like Caine is made to feel lesser just for being born is not to be tolerated.
“Hey. Look at me,” Jupiter says, squeezing Caine’s hand. He meets her gaze, and she forges on. “I love you. This baby is part you, and that makes it perfect to me. And if you want it – I want it too.”
Hearing the words come out of her own mouth crystalizes her determination. She already loves their baby, and she wants to be able to meet it. Tears threaten, and Jupiter attempts to will them away.
Caine pulls Jupiter into his arms. Once again his wings encircle them as he pulls her close, and Jupiter instantly loses control over her tear ducts. All of the panic, fear and frustration comes pouring out as she cries. She counts his heartbeats until she can breathe normally. All the while, Caine waits patiently and strokes her hair.
Feeling slightly more like herself, she gently breaks the embrace and rubs her hands down her sticky face. “Pregnancy hormones suck,” she says with a watery laugh. “And this is only the second month.
“But I meant what I said. I mean – this isn’t the order Earth people usually like to do things in. Marriage first, then baby,” she babbles.
“Jupiter,” Caine says, and she looks at him. Hesitantly, he brings his hands up to cradle her face. Her breath catches at the sheer devotion in his eyes. “Love is too simple a term to express what you mean to me. I never imagined you would return my feelings, not after learning your true heritage.” He pauses, swallows hard. “If you are willing to carry my child… I’m not worthy of such an honour.”
“Hey,” Jupiter scolds. “I own the Earth, and if I say you’re worthy? Guess what – you are.” Privately, she thinks she got the better end of the deal. Her baby will be blessed with some damn fine genes.
Caine blinks at her, looking absurdly happy, and Jupiter has no choice but to kiss him. “You, sir, are about to partake in another Earth tradition,” she breathes into his mouth. “Celebrating baby sex.”
Later, they lie in bed together, sheets tangled and limbs entwined.
“My mother always says ‘Love is a verb,’” Jupiter says, lacing her fingers through Caine’s and resting his hand on her still-flat stomach. “So if you’re not sure how to handle this baby yet? That’s a pretty good place to start.”
“Love is a verb,” Caine murmurs, the steady warmth of his hand radiating into her bare skin. Carefully he raises himself on his elbow and leans down to press a lingering kiss just below her bellybutton.
Jupiter smiles and runs her free hand through Caine’s hair. Maybe they are both new to this parenting thing, but she’s pretty sure they can figure it out. Together.
Hello lovelies! I'm blown away by the response to this fic so far. I hope it lives up to expectations! Apologies for the wait, but, well, my muse can be fickle.
A couple things from last chapter... Jupiter and Caine have been back on Earth for about 8 months, living quite peacefully. I wanted to give them an extended honeymoon and conceivably get to know each other before the trouble started.
I picture Gurit as being played by the lovely Gwendoline Christie.
As for this chapter, I'm not quite sure on
A) the spelling of Katharine's name - it's Katharine on the AO3 tag, and Katherine on the wiki. I'm going to go with the AO3 spelling, in no small part because my own name is Katherine and typing my own name is damned confusing.
B) the name of her boyfriend who was going to propose. So her new guy is called Peter.
One more thing. This fic remains unbeta'ed, and I'm still pretty new to writing fanfic so would love someone to bounce ideas off of/proofread etc. If you're interested, please send me a message. Thank you!