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Changing Winds

Chapter Text

Joan often put on a brave front, especially now that she was a prisoner among the women. Of course she maintained her dangerous edge, but she couldn't help but feel some anxiety at the circumstances she was in now. It was even harder for her to get what she needed in Protection, so she had to go into General.

Except with going into General, it must have left her with some kind of stomach flu. She'd been feeling nauseous for the last few days and refused to see the nurse. Kaz and Allie noticed her illness but she tried not to show too much weakness in front of them, even if it was to her advantage. She still needed to find a way to get Bea to bash her. That would be the only way that she could get Kaz to be on her side.

Her efforts to try and get through to Kaz and her crew, the Red Right Hand, were completed ignored. It was something that aggravated her knowing that no matter what, she couldn't get her way. How many extreme methods would she have to come up with in order to get out of this damn prison? To be back on the right side of the bars.

So she grit her teeth, going through the motions and acted as if it was just a minor setback. She couldn't have Vera believing that she somehow had the upper hand in this situation. This was still her prison. It amused her that Vera emulated her so, and it was actually quite flattering to see. She learned a lot from her as her Deputy.

Sometimes she was afraid the prisoners poisoned her food, and often felt like she couldn't put her guard down. On the inside, she was a tight ball of anxiety, always thinking and planning. Trying to be one step ahead of everyone else. This was hard with whatever was making her sick. She could barely keep anything down, and this made her not only anxious but a little afraid. She was already a target for who she was, being sick couldn't be an extra vulnerability right now. But she suffered through it, and no one would ever think she felt fear. She would only put on a brave face.

However, as she stood naked in the shower staring at Gambaro and her “boys,” she didn't feel brave. She felt fear, her heart dropping in the pit of her stomach. This wasn't what she had planned at all. She went outside of herself as her body was restrained, and braced herself for what was about to happen but it didn't come. She was suddenly able to free her wrists, and looked up to see Bea pulling the women off of her, yelling at them to leave. She held the shiv in her hand, staring down at Joan who was vulnerable and naked on the floor.

She'd almost been raped by those women, and yet here Bea was as her savior. But would she kill her now? She could have let her be ganged, but she didn't. Such a strange moral compass the woman had, but she respected Bea for it.

“Are you going to kill me?”

Bea took in a few more breaths, seeming conflicted on what she should do next. Joan was surprised when Bea grabbed a towel and draped it over her.

“Are you all right?”

Joan searched her face, a little confused by this sudden switch in behavior. “Just get me back to my unit.”

Bea frowned, slowly lifting her up. “Are you sure we shouldn't go to Medical? You have some bruising.”

Joan shook her head. “I'm fine. Just walk me back. I don't want to be jumped again.”

She found herself shivering from the cold and the adrenaline as the water dried on her skin. Dressing back into her clothes, she averted her eyes from Bea.

There was a part of her that couldn't believe that Bea didn't bash her, but the other part of her that knew that Bea would still believe she was doing the right thing, despite their history. As she walked her into her cell, Kaz suddenly stood up and glared at Bea.

“What happened to her?!”

“It was nothing,” Joan replied.

“You have bruises on your face and wrists!”

“She was almost ganged by Juice and her boys,” Bea said flatly, making Joan glare at her.

Kaz gasped, shaking her head as tears spilled out over her cheeks. “How could a woman try and do that to another woman?”

Joan flinched at the display of compassion between both women. She shivered and sat down on her bed. “I'm all right. It could have been worse.” She swallowed at the thought. She wasn't sure she would have been able to get through a second rape. It was hard enough with the psychiatrist, and no one knew about that.

She had a sudden bout of nausea and bent over and threw up in a small trash can. Kaz gently held her hair, and handed her a cup of water. She wasn't used to this kindness, and she had a feeling of dread as she thought about what else could be going on with her.

“Bea... there is something you could do for me.”

Bea sighed. “What is it?”

Joan took a few deep breaths, waiting for her stomach to settle. “I need you to get me a pregnancy test.”

“W-what?”

“I think... I think I might be pregnant.”

Chapter Text

Two lines on the stick meant positive. Joan's hands shook as she stared at the results. She was 50-years-old and even Bea blanched at the idea that she could be pregnant. Believing it more that she was going through menopause. While Joan wondered the same, she couldn't help but think that it wasn't the case. She hadn't yet had any menopause symptoms, which was not unusual but she was a little surprised by it. She regularly got her period, so when she was late she knew that this could very well be the reason why.

The last thing she wanted was to be pregnant. Pregnant and in prison at that. Even Bea wondered if she was playing a game with them, but she assured Bea that unfortunately if she were to play any games, she wouldn't choose to be pregnant as a reason for sympathy.

So here she was, pregnant and alone in prison. Not unlike Jianna during the time she came to Blackmoore. Except at least she had been there for Jianna.

Who will be here for me?

Kaz promised to protect her after what happened in the showers, and especially now that she was pregnant.

Her mind went to the time in the psychiatric hospital, and she grimaced at the painful truth that he was the father. This thought alone made her sick again, and she leaned over and heaved into the toilet.

There was a soft knock at her cell door, and she gripped the side of the toilet, hating herself and everyone for being here.

“Joan?” Kaz asked softly.

She waved her hand away, not looking at Kaz. “Not right now. Leave me alone,” she gasped. “Please...” She added in a softer tone.

A soft hand touched her back, and she hid the tears that were starting to fall from her eyes, refusing to look up and closing her eyes tightly.

“Joan, are you pregnant?”

She nodded and vomited again. She'd never been this sick before, and it was taking all of her strength right now. All she wanted to do was curl up under the covers of her bed.

“I'll protect you,” Kaz said again, holding back her hair.

Joan was trembling, moving to stand up as she let Kaz lead her back to her bed. She sank onto it, and rested her head against the wall.

“Did this happen before or after you were arrested?” Kaz asked quietly.

Joan swallowed, so tired now that she slowly blinked at Kaz. She wondered just how honest she should be.

I've never had a, um... a conventional relationship.”

But you've been intimate?”

I have no emotional bonds to speak of. I am alone. Been that way for... for a long time.”

When you arrived here, you were speaking to someone.”

Crying, Joan answered, “My father. But even he has deserted me.”

Well, uh... maybe you don't need him anymore, Joan. You've got me.”

Sometime after that is when things changed. When her trust diminished knowing that he wanted more than just a professional relationship between a doctor and patient. At the time, Joan wondered in her vulnerable and drugged state that maybe he was just being kind, but that wasn't it. That was never what it was.

“It was after,” she answered, staring into Kaz's bright blue eyes.

“I'm so sorry.”

As much as Joan benefited from the sympathy of Kaz and the rest of her crew, she didn't want this kind of sympathy. This kind of attention for what happened. She was raped in the hospital, yet she'd never told anyone of what was happening to her. She threatened to do so, if he never signed for her release, but she knew that he'd never allow himself to lose his job. So word of what happened would never get out.

The women wanted her dead, and some already tried to gang her. They didn't care about her, so why would they care about what happened to her while she was in treatment? Kaz and the rest didn't have the same history, so she could use that to her advantage.

I should have been more careful. How can I be pregnant? I don't want this.

“I don't want this,” she whispered, not quite realizing she said it outloud.

“I don't blame you.”

Joan touched her stomach, thinking of what that man did to her. More than just the countless times he took advantage of her. It was hard enough to have these memories, ones that plagued her thoughts during the day and sometimes at night when she was feeling the most vulnerable.

What would have happened if I said no?

Such thoughts were useless now, but sometimes she still wondered if she could have done more to prevent it from happening. Of course she used her horrible circumstances to her advantage to get out, but it still didn't stop her from questioning herself. It didn't stop her from questioning what other patients must have gone through... what they'd continue to go through.

A child conceived from such a sick violation, and she hated herself for it. She hated that was how her first child was brought into this world.

There's still a chance it doesn't have to be.

“Kaz, I'd like to be left alone please.”

“Anytime you need me, just let me know.”

Joan barely nodded, looking at the wall. She laid on her side and closed her eyes.

“What do I do? Tell me what to do,” she whispered. But when she needed her father the most, he wasn't there. Not unlike how it was for her when he was alive, but she still hoped. She still hoped he would show up to comfort her in her time of need.

I have no emotional bonds to speak of. I am alone.”

Even if I do keep this baby, I'd be a horrible parent. I couldn't even take care of Shayne.

She thought she might be sick again, but she breathed slowly and evenly, waiting for it to pass.

“If I keep this baby...” She wondered what it would mean if she did have it. How would her life be? She couldn't stay in this prison with her baby. There was no way she would allow this. And then another horrible thought crossed her mind.

And what if he feels he has a right to this child?

She shook her head, feeling more angry as she thought of him even being near her baby. It wasn't even born yet, and she couldn't even fathom such a thing.

It’s best not to have it. I shouldn't be punished for his crime.

But the baby... the baby is still mine.

“Tell me what to do,” she cried, not knowing who she was asking anymore.

Chapter Text

She needed to get out. She had to get out of this fucking prison. But that would take time, and time had a whole new meaning these days. Her protection was guaranteed by Kaz and the others, although Bea was always keeping an eye on her. She slowly found that her reasons to poison Kaz against her were becoming difficult to focus on.

“You wanted to see me?”

Joan's eyes wandered over to Doreen. She'd wanted to speak to a peer worker, and Doreen was the perfect one for it. She appeared cautious, and Joan was a little saddened by that. She had no reason to be nervous around her.

“How's little Joshua?” She asked softly.

“He's doing well. I miss him though but I try to see him as much as I can.”

Joan nodded, remembering when he was born and how happy she felt being a part of that. “I'm sure you do.”

“What do you want?”

Joan bit her lip as she asked herself the same question over and over.

“Can I ask you a personal question?”

Doreen raised her brow and crossed her arms. “I guess... sure.”

“Did you ever... think about not having Joshua?”

“Why are you asking me this?” Doreen asked angrily.

Joan reached out, wanting to touch Doreen but stopped at the look in her eyes. “I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you. I just think about how difficult it must be for you being in here and not seeing him.”

“If this is one of your sick and twisted mind games, I'm not putting up with it. You tried to scare me before with the bird. It won't work this time.”

Joan sighed. “That's not what I'm trying to do. I just... what if the father of your baby wasn't someone you wanted? What if they were a danger?”

“What are you trying to say? He would never hurt us!”

Joan shook her head. “You misunderstand. I was asking in a hypothetical situation, what would you do?”

Doreen looked extremely irritated and Joan thought she was about to leave until she sat down and sighed. “I don't know what I'd do. I don't think I'd want to be tied to them in a permanent way like that.”

Permanent.

“Thank you.”

Doreen furrowed her brow. “But I also love Joshua so much that I couldn't imagine not having him.”

Joan stared at her hands. “So you'd keep the baby?”

“What?”

“If you had a choice in it, would you have?”

“I don't think there are any easy answers to that question. Now did you actually need anything or were you just wanting to talk?”

“No, you've told me all I needed to know.”

 


 

Sierra 7 to Sierra 2.”

“Come in, Sierra 7.”

Requesting your presence in the strip search room. Prisoner Ferguson is refusing a search.”

Vera rolled her eyes at Will and pressed the radio again. “I'm on my way.”

Only Joan would make it difficult for them to do a search. She thought she was above everyone else because she was the previous Governor. She seemed to think that somehow provided her special treatment from the officers.

This is the last time you think you have the upper hand. I'm in charge.

Walking into the strip search room, Vera pursed her lips at Joan who was standing in her teal tracksuit. She slowly shook her head at Vera, clicking her tongue at her in disapproval. “It was a supervised meeting with a reputable lawyer. This is entirely unnecessary.”

Not this time, Joan.

She smirked at her, letting her know just who the Governor was now. “Remove your clothing. Now.”

Joan stared at her, gently shaking her head in annoyance as she took off her pants. She hardly took her eyes off Vera the entire time, and it was a little unnerving for her. Those dark eyes that held so much resentment and anger, yet there was also something else that Vera couldn't quite detect in them. She tried not to smile while Joan aligned her shoes perfectly together.

As she took off her top and handed it to the officer, Vera could see some bruising on her body. Her eyes traveled down her legs. There were some on her thighs and especially her arms and wrists. They were dark and deliberate enough to know that someone gave them to her.

“What happened?” She asked, feeling some concern now. While they were in prison, the last thing she wanted was for Joan to actually be hurt by anyone. No matter how much she probably deserved it. Even Vera felt like slapping her in her smug face at times. But there was the small part of her that still didn't believe that Joan really deserved that sort of treatment.

“I fell,” she replied.

Oh, you're going to lie?  “Clearly you didn't just fall.”

She was irritated now, not wanting to deal with this bullshit. She was surprised Joan wouldn't be honest with her, considering how much she hated the prisoners withholding information in these situations.

Then again, she does lie about everything.

“It's filthy in there. You should look into that.”

“Underwear.”

Joan stared and then gave her a slow smirk, and she resisted rolling her eyes. She bent down and slowly pulled off her underwear, followed by her bra.

For once, Joan looked a little smaller in her eyes. She had some enjoyment of making her do this. There was a certain excitement and amusement she took in the vulnerable humiliation she suffered. There was nothing she couldn't see of her now. No armor for her to hide behind. She told Joan to turn around, and then she saw a little more bruising along her waist and her shoulder, the backs of her arms. The ones around her wrists and forearms were the most noticeable.

“Bend over.”

Vera didn't take pleasure in this, at least now knowing that Joan was clearly attacked. Seeing her intimately was especially awkward since she'd had secret fantasies of her for a while now. She always thought it would happen in her office. Not here, and not this way. The way she'd been held down by the looks of the bruises. She swallowed, suddenly feeling ill at the thought of what might have happened. Don't tell me she was raped...

She tried to keep her voice steady. “Someone hurt you. This wasn't caused by a fall. Who did this to you?”

“Told you, I fell. In fact, the prisoners have been most supportive and sympathetic. They've facilitated my recovery considerably.”

And I haven't. You had to hit below the belt again, didn't you?

“Get dressed.”

Joan had a small smile on her face as she took her uniform. Vera turned to the officer in the room. “Call the nurse. Now. Tell her we're bringing Prisoner Ferguson in for a mandatory medical check.”

“I'm sure I don't need to remind you that my permission is required for an internal examination.”

Why are you doing this? Why are you willing to put yourself through this? Why Joan?

“Then you leave me no choice but to have you sent back to Protection.”

“There are absolutely no grounds, as it was an accident,” she stated firmly.

 


 

Joan laid down in her cell, and thought of Vera. She couldn't help her responses in the strip search room. She was still so angry at Vera for everything, and despite how vulnerable she felt she needed to maintain her cool indifference to Vera. However, that was often hard to do. She was far from feeling indifferent about the smaller woman.

It was now only a matter of time before Vera was informed of her pregnancy. She would never allow the nurse to do an internal examination, but she knew that it would be obvious that she was pregnant just by a blood test.

She sighed, remembering the look on the nurse's face when she told her she was pregnant. She hadn't known what to say, and didn't remember much of their conversation after. She refused to speak to Westnull, preferring to be left alone.

But what she didn't expect was Vera slowly unlocking her cell door this late at night, and she sat up knowing what she was going to hear. Vera stared at her, moving to take a seat on her bed. She knew what she was going to say, but she was angry at Vera for invading her privacy. She'd already seen her fully naked in the strip search room, so why couldn't she just leave her be? Why couldn't this wait until morning?

Vera took a few deep breaths, and the silence bothered Joan. She slowly turned towards Vera. “Why are you here?”

Vera sighed. “You know why. Did you really think you could hide this?”

“I hoped I could for a little while, at least until I figured out what I needed to do.”

“When did you have the time to—I mean, were you... involved with someone?”

Joan glared at her. “Don't be stupid. You know how far along I am. I'm only six weeks. I've barely been here for that long, and where was I before?”

Vera stared. “The psychiatric hospital but--”

“You visited me when I was there, right? Isn't that what you said? But I don't remember.”

“I visited you more than once, Joan.”

Joan cleared her throat. “You did?”

“Yes, and you were heavily medicated and not always lucid. But sometimes you spoke about your doctor, and how he was helping you. Something about music...”

Joan closed her eyes. “I wish I didn't remember any of it, but I suppose not remembering it would have been more of a shock now.”

When she looked at Vera again, she could see her eyes were tearing up and she suddenly felt angry. “No, you don't get to cry. You don't know anything. This doesn't affect you at all!”

Vera touched her hand, making her flinch. “Don't!” Joan snapped.

“I'm sorry,” she said, quickly moving her hand away. “I-I should have known. He always gave me the creeps.”

Joan stiffened, wishing that she had felt that way in the beginning before he began grooming her. That's what it was... a form of adult grooming. “I trusted him,” she whispered. “And the music... the music he played made me feel safe. He was trying to help me feel the same way I did when I was younger.”

She was surprised she was telling this to Vera, but she felt such a heavy burden keeping this all inside. And here Vera was, when she never expected her to be here.

She gently touched Joan's wrist again, and this time she allowed it. “You didn't fall, did you?” She asked quietly.

“No, I didn't. I was attacked and they tried... but one of the prisoners saved me before it was too late.”

Vera took a shuddering breath. “I'm glad they did, because no one deserves that to happen.”

Joan sniffed. “Not even ex Governors who've made difficult decisions for what they feel is the greater good?”

“Not even them,” Vera said said gently.

Joan felt a lump in her throat. “Thank you.”

“Joan, I need to ask you something.”

“What?”

“Are you scared?”

“Why would I be scared?”

“You're pregnant.”

“Who says I'm going to keep this baby? Just being pregnant reminds me of... everything that happened there.”

She was startled when Vera slowly hugged her, and she sat stiffly in response. She was completely shocked at this display of affection, not understanding why she was holding her. She felt a hand at her hair.

“What are you doing?”

“Joan, it's okay to cry.”

“I'm not crying...” She whispered, but she felt wetness on her cheeks. “Vera, please don't.”

“Joan, it's okay. I'm so sorry that you're going through this.”

Joan let out a sob then, not able to hold back her tears as Vera held her tighter. “I don't want this,” she cried, repeating this over and over. Vera spoke softly to her, and she hated crying like this. She hated doing so in front of anyone, but especially in front of Vera. After everything she had done to her, the last thing she wanted was to be a target for Vera later. It would be so easy for Vera to use any of this against her.

“Why?” Joan asked.

“Why what?”

“Why are you doing this?”

Vera gently rubbed her back. “Because Joan, I'm the one you're closest to. You told me you don't make friends easily, and despite everything we've gone through, I don't want you to be alone. Not in here like this.”

“But you--”

“Shh...” She said, and she slowly relaxed as Vera stroked her hair, suddenly feeling very tired. Joan was surprised by how comforted she felt, pulling back to look at Vera.

“Do you still care?” She asked, needing to know very desperately how Vera felt about their relationship.

“Yes, I still care. It's why I haven't wanted you to leave Protection, Joan. Don't you see that?”

Joan's eyes softened. “You're a good woman, Vera.”

Vera smiled gently. “Not always, but I try.”

“It's getting a little late, Vera. Why don't you go home and get some sleep?”

She didn't want Vera to leave yet, but knew she needed to. Vera sat down on the floor. “I'm okay here. I'll stay until you fall asleep.”

“You don't need to do that.”

“No, but I want to anyway.”

As she got into bed, she watched Vera in the darkness of the room. “You know, you don't have to sit on the floor.”

“No, I'm okay.”

“The bed is more comfortable. Just rest here for a little while, and then you can go home later,” Joan said, her eyelids growing heavy. Vera moved onto the bed and pressed closer to Joan, her soft and warm body a comfort in the night.

“Joan,” she whispered.

“Yes?” She asked, her voice slurring a little as she was starting to fall asleep.

“I'll support you no matter what you decide.”

Joan opened her eyes. “Are you sure?”

“Of course. Why do you ask?”

“Because... I think I'm going to keep it.”

Chapter Text

Over the next few weeks, Joan had learned to keep a low profile. While that was part of her plan originally, she felt even more of an urgency so the other prisoners wouldn't use it against her. Or worse. Her experience with Warner crept into her mind, ever reminding her of exactly where she was. While some of these women wouldn't harm a child, there were many others who would, and some just for the sake of her being “The Freak.” She was never afraid to put herself in harm's way, but what would she do now?

And would her child be taken away? The very thought of suffering the same fate as her beloved Jianna crossed her mind, and she closed her eyes at the painful memory.

Stepping into Vera's office, she hesitated at the door. “You wanted to see me?”

“Yes, Joan. How are you doing?”

Joan didn't know how to answer that question. She still didn't quite trust Vera, despite their recent closeness. Just because she was pregnant, didn't change a thing between them. The memory of Vera leaving during their dinner still hurt, as did knowing that Vera put up those photos of Jianna in her office.

“I'm okay. As well as to be expected, I suppose. Why did you want to see me?”

Vera leaned a little forward in her chair. “I think it would be a good idea if you saw Ms. Westfall.”

Joan chuckled. “I didn't know you were a comedian on the side, Vera. How amusing to think that I would get any help from Ms. Westfall.”

Vera narrowed her eyes. “You don't think I'm serious? I think it would be good for you to talk to a professional... especially considering--”

“Professional? You want me to see the same woman who had inappropriate relations with an inmate?”

“Ms. Westfall is one of the best people I know, and she knows you. This is no longer a request, Joan. Your mental health is a priority.”

Joan's body tensed, and her lips twitched ever so slightly. Her father would be telling her that she needed to control her anger and emotions, but this was going too far. What Vera was now demanding of her was almost punishing.

“And what if I refuse?”

“Joan, I know you don't like Bridget, but please... please do this for me. It would put me at ease knowing that--”

“Oh, it would put you at ease? So this is about how you feel? How unfortunate you only keep thinking of yourself.”

Vera stared at her, and slowly moved around her desk, resting her hip against it. Joan would have smirked since she often did the same thing while Governor. It was almost... flattering in the way that Vera emulated her. Joan doubted that she even noticed what she was doing.

“I wasn't thinking of myself when I slept in your cell. I also wasn't thinking of myself when I returned a few nights later. I didn't have to do all of that Joan, to put my career at risk. Especially for you. But yet I am anyway. Maybe I shouldn't.”

Joan remembered those nights all too well. Despite what she'd said to Vera, she hadn't returned home until early morning. Joan had felt safe and calm, a feeling she hadn't had since Jianna. It was always broken by the reality of where they were.

Do you have to go?”

Yes, I have to before anyone sees.”

Thank you for staying with me.”

Sure... I would have done it for anyone.”

But would she have done it for anyone? Was Joan just some charity case? Someone for Vera to pity and make herself look even taller.

Joan stood up, so close to Vera now that she backed up against her desk. “You think that just because you're the current Governor that I'm going to allow you to make my decisions for me? I will not see that woman. You can go ahead and slot me for it.”

Vera bit her lip and slowly shook her head. “I do make all the decisions for you now. You are the property of Wentworth, and this is my prison.”

Joan's eyes flashed in anger, then she leaned forward and whispered in her ear. “Is this a little kink of yours? Thinking of being in control of me? I must admit, power is quite seductive. It's why I've always loved to be on top.” She smiled slowly, feeling the vibration of Vera's body as she trembled slightly.

“You never change, even though you're pregnant.”

Joan lifted her hand, brushing a piece of lint off of Vera's shoulder. Her hand lingered on the little gold crown, before she slowly pressed her fingertips to Vera's neck.

“What are you doing?”

“Feeling your pulse. It's racing. Something has definitely changed, Vera. And it's not just because I'm pregnant.”

Vera swallowed, and Joan gently caressed her jaw. “I'll see Westfall on one condition.”

“What is it?”

“You be there for our first session, and...”

“You want more? Jesus Christ, Joan.”

“Do you want me to see Westfall or not?” She snapped.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Good. Now my next proposition is rather simple.”

“What is it?”

Joan stroked her neck and jaw again, enjoying the flutter of her pulse under her fingertips. “I miss you at night,” she whispered, and despite her defiance, she didn't want to lose the feelings she had with her. “It doesn't have to be every night but... I, uh... I want you there.”

“You have a very odd way of showing it,” Vera said softly.

Joan smiled a little sadly. “I told you I don't make friends easily.”

“The way you keep touching me... I'd say it's a little more than that,” she said quietly.

“That's not always easy for me either, but you're correcT. It is a little 'more than that.'”

Vera blushed. “This is so inappropriate.”

“Come on, Vera. Don't be so vanilla,” she whispered.

“I am not vanilla!” She hissed.

“Then prove it. And if you think me being pregnant means you can't have any sexual attraction for me, then you're extremely naive.”

“Joan, you being pregnant is not the only reason I shouldn't feel that way.”

“Oh, so you admit it? You're sexually attracted to me.”

“Why are we doing this? This isn't the time for your games.”

Except this wasn't a game. Maybe it was a few weeks ago before she found out she was pregnant. Joan felt a need to hold onto her former self. This verbal exchange with Vera was the only part of her life that hadn't changed, and it scared her to know the risks she was taking in having this baby.

“Vera,” she said softly. “I don't always know how to act around you. I'm still very angry, and this makes me confused because some of that seems not so important now. And this baby...” She touched her stomach, suddenly feeling a little sick. “Those women already tried to rape me, so the very thought of how I'm going to protect this child... well, you remember Warner. No one cared that I saved a child's life.”

“What are you saying, Joan?”

“I don't know who I can trust.”

Vera sighed. “I hope you can trust me, even just a little bit.”

“It's all I have right now,” Joan said quietly, suddenly reminded of how alone she was in the world.

Chapter Text

Gripping the chair, she quietly stared out the window. The ticking of the clock reminded her of how much longer she had before Westfall came in here.

“What are you thinking?” Vera asked quietly.

“Are you deciding to also play therapist?”

“No, you've just been so quiet.”

Joan sighed, looking over at Vera. “I don't have anything to say right now, Vera.”

“Are you nervous?”

“Why would I be nervous? It's just Westnull.

Except she was a little nervous. One of the reasons why she asked Vera to be present was so nothing could be used against her. There would be nothing that Vera wouldn't know in the session. While everything remained confidential, she truly wondered about what kind of ethics Westfall believed in.

“I hope you feel comfortable with me here.”

“I don't think it's going to be comfortable either way, Vera. I'm here because you want me to be, nothing more.”

There was a soft knock at the door before it opened slowly, and Bridget entered. She smiled at the both of them, but Joan knew the smile at her was forced. Joan raised her brow, waiting to see how this would go.

“Good afternoon. I'm surprised you agreed to see me, but I'm glad we're able to work together,” Bridget said.

Joan smirked. “I didn't have much choice.”

“I see. Well, what matters is you're here. May I ask why you wanted Vera to attend?”

“I wanted a witness.”

“A witness?” She asked curiously.

“So she could see and hear everything we talk about.”

“Joan, I know you and I haven't always had the best rapport, but I would hope if you're comfortable later, that you can attend sessions with me on your own.”

Joan smirked. “This will be the only session I attend.”

“I believe the Governor and I have arranged for you to attend at least ten sessions, once per week.”

Her lips twitched, and she slowly looked over at Vera and watched as the smaller woman visibly shrank in her chair. Her eyes told her everything, and she shouldn't be surprised at this betrayal. She glared at Vera, wanting nothing more than to tell her how much she despised her for this. But instead she turned towards Westfall again.

“Very well, if that was the arrangement, then I'll comply.”

She watched Bridget nod in agreement. She looked at Joan curiously, with her gentle yet guarded expression.

“How are you feeling, Joan? Are you adjusting well?”

Ah, the stereotypical “how are you feeling?” As much as it annoyed her to be going through this, she knew she was stuck here. The last thing she wanted to do was look uncooperative. Especially since she was on remand.

“I think I'm doing fairly well considering the circumstances. How about you? How's Franky?” She smiled at the tightening of Westfall's jaw. She couldn't help but needle her a little more. She could hear Vera sigh in the chair next to her, and she looked at her as if to say: “what did you expect?”

“We're not here to talk about me, Joan. Your methods of redirecting the conversation back off of you are very interesting though. Do you do that often?”

She was a little taken aback by that question. “I was merely being polite. But no, I suppose you could say I don’t like talking about myself. I’ve already been through that at the psychiatric hospital.”

“I was very surprised you were released from there with your symptoms. How was your time there?”

These questions were going in a direction she didn’t want them to go. “My time there is irrelevant to now.”

“Why do you believe it’s irrelevant?”

“I was drugged most of the time I was there so I can’t remember everything. I suppose you could probably ask Vera a little more about it since she claims to have visited me there.”

“How do you feel knowing she visited you?”

Angry, embarrassed, ashamed… 

“Nothing. It’s not unheard of to visit a patient, especially a former colleague.”

“So you felt nothing knowing she visited you? I find that hard to believe because of your former relationship. Vera’s presence here means something to you.”

She grit her teeth. “How I feel or felt at the time doesn’t matter.”

“Why doesn’t it matter?” 

“I don’t remember her being there.”

“And how do you feel knowing she visited you when you don’t remember?”

She bit her lip, glancing at Vera from the corner of her eyes. 

“I’m surprised by it.”

“You just said it’s not unheard of to visit a patient, so why did it surprise you?”

“Vera and I weren’t exactly on the best terms before I was arrested. But what does this have to do with anything?”

“Your relationship with Vera seems to be important to you. I would take a guess as to say that she’s here for more than just being your ‘witness’ to our sessions. You must trust her on some level. Would you agree?”

Joan pursed her lips. “Trust is hard to come by these days. I wouldn’t call it that,” she said quietly.

“Whatever it may be, you both still have some kind of bond. I would like to discuss that more later, if you’d allow me.”

Joan didn’t say anything, her brows furrowed in confusion and irritation. “I was really hoping you’d just get on with asking me how I’m feeling every day. So then I’d be able to tell you exactly what you want to hear, and then we no longer have to be around each other.”

“Is that what you want? Me to ask you how you’re feeling?”

Joan was beginning to lose her patience. “This is why I’ve never been willing to see a psychologist.”

“And why is that Joan?”

“It’s nothing but a waste of time. Whatever we talk about will have no change on the outcome of my trial, or what goes on in the prison.”

“Are you concerned about what will happen with you in General?”

“Why would I be concerned?”

“You said it won’t change what goes on in the prison. I’ve read your file recently, and talked to Medical about your condition.”

Joan felt some of the blood drain from her face, as if she could forget she was pregnant or that others would know about it. Especially someone like Westnull.

Quietly, she traced her hand in her lap. She lifted her eyes once again to Westfall’s and took a deep, shaky breath. 

“This baby’s safety is paramount. Isolation isn’t healthy for me at this time, so I have to make a choice on what is best.”

Bridget’s eyes were surprisingly gentle. “I imagine this is very difficult for you, and not to mention very frightening.”

Joan swallowed her pride. “Yes, it is,” she said softly, and she felt her eyes water at the sudden weight lifted off her shoulders once she admitted that.

“How are you feeling right now?”

Joan blinked furiously. “I don’t know how I feel,” she said tightly.

“It’s okay to feel your emotions.”

“I thought you said I was a psychopath.”

“While there are similar traits, perhaps I was mistaken.”

Joan didn’t know how to respond to that, so she didn’t. She caught Vera’s eye who smiled gently, but Joan was still angry at her. She looked back at Westfall. “Well, I see you got what you wanted. A weak, emotional display from me. Does it feel good knowing you accomplished this?” She sneered.

Bridget's expression didn't change, much to Joan's irritation. “I’m not sure I understand your question. Do I take pleasure in your pain? No, I don’t. The fact that you were able to show a little emotion in front of me does show some progress. That’s not a bad thing,” she said gently.

“I’m surprised you haven’t asked me more about being pregnant.”

“We can save that for other sessions, but how you feel is important.”

Joan bit her lip hard, so hard that she tasted blood. 

“Joan, you’re bleeding,” Vera said softly.

Joan glanced at her, and then to Bridget who looked concerned now. “Joan, I know how difficult this is, but you’re safe here. Let me get you something for your lip.”

She licked her lips, holding up her hand. “I’m fine. Can I go? I think that’s enough for today.”

“Of course, we can continue this another time. With or without Vera here. Whatever you’re comfortable with.”

Joan left her office, followed by Vera. “I think that went well, don’t you think?” Vera asked.

She didn’t say anything, leaving Vera in the hallway as she made her way back to her cell. Passing by Kaz, she sighed at her worried look.

“You all right, Joan?”

“I’m fine.”

Kaz followed her into her cell. “I don’t like them either, you know. All the probing questions they ask.”

Joan sighed. “Kaz, I would like to be left alone, please.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t--”

“It’s all right. I just don’t want to talk right now.”

She actually understood what Kaz was trying to do but she didn’t have the energy for it. She didn’t want more sympathy or attention on how she felt. She didn’t need to be the weak one, no matter how much it would benefit her. Not now at least.

Closing her door, she shook with anxiety over the entire session. It had given her a lot more things to think about than she realized. 

It was going to be very dangerous for her to have this baby at her age, but also within the prison. The other women hated her, and that didn’t matter before but now it made it complicated. 

Resting in her bed, she thought about how it would be for her, and how she’d be able to keep her baby safe. 

It would be so much easier to not have this child, but she didn’t want to lose something that was now part of her. She gently touched her stomach. “You’re all I have,” she whispered.

Her door slowly opened, and she rolled her eyes thinking of how she told Kaz she wanted to be left alone. But instead Vera walked in, staring at her with her gentle and nervous blue eyes. Joan’s mouth set into a straight line as she glared at Vera.

“Vera, you should leave.”

“Joan, I just wanted to see how you were doing.”

Standing up, she towered over Vera, using her full height to her advantage. She almost smiled when Vera backed up.

“You never told me that you wanted me to see Westfall for more than one session. You deceived me.”

“Joan, you have to know that’s usually part--”

“I don’t care what’s usually required. You and I made an agreement, and I trusted you.”

“I was just wanting what’s best for you.”

“You don’t know what’s best for me. I want you out of my cell.”

Vera looked hurt, but Joan ignored this, her expression hardening even more. It slightly faltered when Vera grabbed her hand. The soft and affectionate touch was almost her undoing.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. It’ll be all right. I’m here with you, I promise I’ll see you through it.”

Trust was so very important, and Vera should have known this considering she’d just told her she didn’t know who she could trust. She quickly pulled her hand away. “Get out.”

“Joan--”

“I said get out!” She snapped.

Vera’s lips trembled, and for a moment Joan felt sorry for her. She watched her walk away, quietly closing the door after her. As she slid down to the floor with her back to the wall, she knew it was going to be another lonely night in her cell. She didn’t want Vera to go, but she needed her to understand how betrayed she felt. 

If Vera didn’t learn from the consequences of what she’d just done, then they would never be able to trust each other again.

Chapter Text

Days passed, and she didn't see much of Vera after that day. Why she required the presence of another at night was bizarre, and not to mention alarming. It wasn't like she didn't sleep alone before. She'd developed a dependency on Vera, and she wasn't sure she liked it. However, she would have to get used to Vera not always being available, and definitely used to the fact that Vera couldn't always be trusted.

She avoided Westfall as well, rolling her eyes as she thought about how she had to meet with her again next week.

Joan didn't want to think about how kind Bridget was during their first session, or that she'd let her guard down and become emotional. She hated herself for it because she didn't have the excuse of taking medication to lower her defenses.

Maybe her small emotional display was because she was pregnant, and she had an intense flash of anger towards the almost alien like presence growing inside her. It was completely changing her life, and as she looked in the mirror of her cell, she imagined what she'd look like with a baby bump. She had a hard time thinking of herself in that way, unsure of just what it was she was hoping to accomplish. What good would this pregnancy bring to her?

I'm too old for this.

Joan wished that her father was there. He'd know what to do. But then, that was what disturbed her the most. She never wanted to repeat the same mistakes her father made with her, but yet there wasn't any other way she knew how to be. How could she even do right by her own child?

Jianna died, Shayne was taken away, and her attempts to contact him were destroyed by Vera. Everywhere around her there was loss and death. Even her goldfish died.

How can I take care of my baby when I can't even take care of my fucking goldfish? I killed the last one in a fit of pain and rage.

She pressed her hand to her stomach, looking at herself in the mirror. “Will I destroy you too?” She whispered.

Or will you be just like him?

Try as she might, she couldn't help the irrational thought that her child could end up just like the man who did this to her. She moved her hands to her sides, clenching her fists and digging her nails into her palms as she took a few deep breaths.

The child is innocent.

She stared into her eyes, taking in how dark and cold they looked. There was no softness to her gaze, only anger and fear.

Or you could end up like me.

This was a stranger feeling. Another version of her that would be innocent of all her deeds. Perhaps her child wouldn't end up like her, and maybe she or he would hate her for what she is.

At one time Joan felt love, and loved those deeply who were closest to her. No one more special and dear to her than Jianna.

Am I capable of loving again?

She needed to wash herself of these thoughts, literally. Grabbing a robe and towel and the rest of her toiletries, she made her way down the hall to the showers. This time she would be prepared for anything that could happen. Kaz had given her a shiv recently just in case she had to defend herself. She held it now in her hand, concealed from view.

Entering the shower, there was no one there which was unusual but she enjoyed the privacy nonetheless. While she knew it would have been better to ask Kaz to accompany her, she didn't want to have to depend on anyone for her safety. Especially not when she just needed to take a shower.

Undressing, she slipped behind the curtain and turned on the water. She sighed at the warmth that spread over her body, loving the feel of the water on her skin.

Washing her body, she let the sponge slowly and gently glide across her skin, and as she closed her eyes she could almost pretend she was at home. She gently massaged her scalp, her hair soft in her hands.

She turned her head when she thought she heard a small sound, and as she heard it again she reached quickly for the shiv. It was hard to see with the steam around her, yanking the shower curtain back. She could see a figure there, dark and imposing. She grabbed the arm of the person near her, pulling them in and bringing the shiv up to their throat.

There was a small yelp, and she pressed the shiv to the delicate throat she held. She felt blood trickle down her fingertips and as her vision cleared, she stared into the frightened blue eyes of Vera.

“What are you doing here?” She hissed.

Vera breathed harder, and she could feel her trembling in fear. Joan almost forgot she still had the shiv pressed against her throat, and she slowly lowered it. Vera lifted her hand to her neck, feeling where the blade cut into her skin.

Joan frowned, pressing her fingertips to her skin to touch the small wound. “I'm sorry, I thought--”

“It was my fault. I was stupid to come in here.”

“How did you know where I was?”

Vera looked a little embarrassed, blushing as she spoke. “I, um, I was watching the CCTV.”

Joan raised her brow. “You wanted another look at me, hmm? The strip search room wasn't enough?”

Vera blushed fiercely. “What?! No! I was just checking to see if you were all right.”

Joan smiled slowly and licked her lips, stepping closer to Vera. “You really shouldn't be in here with an inmaTe, Governor,” she said, speaking low. She could feel Vera's body heat, and she felt a need then that was undeniable. She slowly undid the buttons of Vera’s jacket, dropping it to the floor.

Vera's breath quickened as Joan looked at her, noticing the swell of her breasts and hard nipples under her white blouse.

“What are you doing?”

Joan opened the first few buttons of her blouse, leaning down close to her ear. “I'm taking advantage of our position right now.”

She cupped the back of Vera's neck, undoing the bun and letting her hair down. Vera gazed up at her, and Joan could see the want in her eyes. “Does this mean you've forgiven me?”

Joan had a hint of a smirk on her lips. She gently grabbed Vera's hair, yanking it back a little forcefully. “Not in the slightest, but it doesn't mean I don't have needs,” she said, placing her hand inside Vera's blouse and squeezing her breast. Vera gasped when Joan pinched her nipple.

“Do we have to do this here?” Vera's voice shook slightly.

Joan pressed her lips to her neck, gently kissing around the small cut, tasting her skin that had a slight copper taste mixed with sweat. Her lips dragged across her skin as she pulled Vera flush against her. Sucking her neck, she unzipped her pants.

“You didn't give me much choice with Westnull, so I think this is appropriate. You're the one that came here, so take what I'm giving you,” she growled, tilting back Vera's head and kissing her hard.

Joan moved her against the wall of the shower, bending down to yank off her pants. Vera looked a little shocked as Joan took her hand and pressed it between her legs.

“Touch me now,” she ordered. Vera did as she was told, gently exploring her and sliding her fingers along her wet lips.

Vera watched her, gently touching her clit and Joan let out a pleasurable sigh. Vera lifted up a little to kiss her and Joan pulled back. “Not yet. I'm in control,” she whispered harshly.

Vera nodded, and Joan lifted her breast. “You can suck,” she said quietly. Vera opened her mouth to take in Joan's nipple, and Joan closed her eyes in pleasure. She opened them again and felt another flood of wetness as she watched Vera sucking her nipple. She guided Vera's hand inside her, showing her exactly how she wanted to be fucked. Stroking her hair, she gently let Vera tend to her other breast.

Vera moaned around her nipple, and Joan began to grind a little on her fingers, pumping them inside her. She let go of Vera's hand, looking into her eyes.

“Keep doing that,” she moaned, bracing her hand against the wall. Vera nodded, bringing up her thumb to play with her clit. She lifted her thigh slightly onto a ledge near the shower, opening herself up to Vera. She kissed her again, and moaned as Vera wrapped her arms around her. Kissing her passionately, she felt her legs tremble when Vera began to circle her clit faster, her fingers buried deep inside her.

Vera curled her fingers and pressed on her clit, and Joan moaned into her mouth as she shook and came. Vera moaned with her, gently sliding her fingers out and cupping her between her legs. She tenderly touched Joan, looking into her eyes and stroking her hair.

Joan stared at her, breathing softly as she allowed Vera a moment of tenderness. Joan kissed her slowly, catching her breath.

Joan thought she looked so beautiful with her flushed body; her mouth swollen from their kisses. She kissed her deeply, bringing Vera's thigh around her hip. She began to grind against her, pressing harder as her clit rubbed against hers. She kissed Vera's neck, biting a little hard and making the woman gasp.

Joan touched her lips, tracing them with her fingers. She slid her fingers into her mouth. “Suck,” she commanded.

Vera moaned around her fingers, and Joan slowly and deeply thrust them in and out. She smiled and slowly slid them inside, and brought her hand down to Vera's pulsing heat.

She teased her, brushing along her clit and pulling down her blouse so she could kiss her neck and shoulders. Vera's hands pressed into her back, and she held her thigh tighter against her hip.

Vera whimpered when she slid first two, then three fingers inside her. Joan skimmed her lips with her own, taking in her small pants and moans. She moaned at the feeling of Vera enveloping her fingers.

“Easy, Joan,” she said when she began to thrust a little faster.

Joan sucked on her collarbone, biting gently and slowing down. She let her fingers stay inside her, deeply and slowly thrusting. She edged it out, slow and steady now as she watched Vera. When she flicked her thumb across her clit, she shuddered in her arms.

“Oh, now a little faster,” she panted. Joan turned her around, angling her fingers as she pressed Vera's back to her front. Vera moaned, grinding back into Joan.

Joan held her close, kissing her neck. She could smell the mix of sweat and arousal, and the soft sweet smell of Vera's hair. She moaned softly into her neck, turning her head to kiss her again. She began to grind her palm against her clit, and pressed herself into Vera's ass. She moaned as she felt a shiver down her spine.

She thrust deeply, harder as she pressed on Vera's clit with her palm. Vera moaned and Joan cupped her hand around her mouth when she heard a sound.

“Shh,” she whispered against her ear. She continued to pump her fingers inside, curling them and pressing harder on her clit with her palm. Vera shook against her, squeezing her fingers tightly. Joan released her hand to kiss her hard. She swallowed her moans as she came around her fingers, and Joan trembled with her own orgasm as she kept grinding her hips against Vera's ass. Joan panted, biting her lip hard as she came, her moan soft and quiet.

Vera slumped against her, and Joan moaned quietly against her neck. She held her close and sighed softly. She listened to Vera's heavy breathing, her body shaking in her arms. Closing her eyes, she nuzzled her neck. She turned Vera to face her, gentle as she held her close. Stroking her hair behind her ear, she wasn't sure what came over her then, but she wanted nothing more than to be with Vera.

“Come back to my bed,” she said, kissing her softly.

Vera let out a soft sound, cupping her cheek. “All you had to do was ask, but I'll take this too,” she said, smiling.

Joan smirked, lifting her hand to brush across her cheek and down to her neck, gently touching where she accidentally hurt her. “Be careful what you wish for,” she said as she bit her lip, kissing her.

Chapter Text

Joan laid in her cell, sighing softly when she turned her face into her pillow. Vera’s scent still lingered there, and she hugged the pillow closer to her.

It was morning again, and Vera had already left before she woke. Wistfully she touched her lips, remembering the softness of her kiss.

Joan closed her eyes when she remembered the night before. How passionate she had been, and how close she came to hurting Vera... or worse.

It was a strange feeling, this lust and desire she felt for the smaller woman. Maybe it was the danger of being in the prison. Or maybe it was because there was always something between her and Vera, whether they liked it or not.

She doesn’t regret her time with Vera, definitely doesn’t regret how it felt to be inside her. But she does regret the timing of it. She wasn’t one to move that quickly with intimacy, and it was confusing considering everything she’d been feeling recently.

It was impulsive, and a little out of control. This scared her the most. She often prided herself on her tightly controlled emotions, but she fell apart in front of Vera, allowing herself to be extremely vulnerable.

At the time she turned it around so she was in control of the situation. That made it easier since she was naked, not expecting to run into her at all there. She’d been waiting for anyone else but Vera.

And while she worried she hurt Vera, there was still the small part of her that thought Vera deserved a little of it. That’s what she got for sneaking up on her.

Sometimes Vera really could be very wayward at times. It wasn’t the first time she was lacking in her judgment. But Joan enjoyed their time, no matter how it happened.

“You like to win don’t you, Joan?”

“My father instilled in me the importance of victory.”

Was that what happened in the shower with Vera? Was it a form of winning? She wanted to assert her dominance over the woman, and teach her the consequences of what could happen.

She wanted her then, loving how uncomfortable Vera was, but also knowing that Vera wanted her through her own body’s responses.

It had been a very long time since she’d been intimate with anyone, a woman that is. She wouldn’t call what happened with the psychiatrist a form of intimacy.

It was twisted how much he got inside her mind. The first time being when he lifted the earbuds into her ears and she listened to the music of her youth. There was something so precious and private in how she let herself go then. She hated herself for it, that he was able to see a part of her that not many had seen in a long time. Not even Jianna.

Her hands shaking, she slowly ran her fingers through her hair. It was a way she could comfort herself when no one else was around. She tried hard to remember the music of Dido’s Lament, so she could imagine the peace she once felt.

But that peace never came, and it reminded her of how he took advantage of her. But didn’t she encourage it? Didn’t she encourage his behavior so she could get out of there?

Was it actually rape if she didn’t say no? 

Joan felt sick, knowing then that whatever happened between them was a form of abuse. She didn’t want it. She never wanted to be taken advantage of like that, but she was all alone and no one was around to comfort her. The amount of sensitivity and empathy he showed towards her, made it even more confusing.

She never actually consented. It was almost worse because of how tender and kind he could be. It was insidious in nature, and before she knew it, she was slowly going along with the sexual abuse.

A touch here and there, and then more than that. She felt her stomach, thinking of how this was the result of that.

Did she really want her child to experience the same pain she felt? This world was cruel. She wasn’t sure if it was too late to do an abortion. Sometimes she hoped she would have a miscarriage.

This also made her feel horrible, and she took a deep breath, trying to remember the reasons why it was good to have this baby. But it was so hard to see the positives. She was alone in prison, and not even Vera could always be there for her.

And it couldn’t be better for her to go into Protection. The isolation would drive her insane, no matter how much danger she was in. If it was just her, she would deal with it. 

Her meals were still delivered to her, and she refused to eat today. Not because she was trying to punish Vera, but because she wasn’t sure she could keep this baby.

“You need to eat, Joan,” Kaz said gently, watching over her in her cell. She laid on her side, staring at the wall with her back to Kaz.

She felt a hand gently stroke through her hair and she closed her eyes. It was Kaz who looked after her now, and she was surprisingly grateful for it. She was a toothless tiger, but she was a woman full of compassion and Joan recognized that.

“I’m not hungry,” she said quietly. She sighed when Kaz rubbed her back, being there for her in a way that Vera couldn’t be.

She couldn’t look at her though, wanting to pretend she didn’t know she was there. It was easier that way, easier to accept her comfort when she couldn’t look her in the eye. It was too humiliating to show this kind of weakness, even if she desperately needed the comfort.

“What’s bothering you?” 

Joan didn’t say anything at first. She wasn’t ready to, not with her.

“Did something happen with Ms. Westfall?”

Joan slowly shook her head. “No, nothing happened with her. She just asked me questions.”

She felt the bed move as Kaz stood up, and she was both sad and relieved that she was leaving. 

“Whenever you want to talk, I’m here.”

Joan nodded. “I know,” she whispered. Her eyelids grew heavy, suddenly so tired that she just wanted to sleep.

 


 

She breathed deeply, moving in and out of consciousness. A hand stroked through her hair again, and soft lips pressed against her temple.

Her lips trembled at the affection, and she felt gentle arms wrap around her. It was then that she realized she was shaking. 

“You said I could talk to you,” she whispered. “What if what I experienced wasn’t rape? What if I just accepted it because I had no one else to turn to?”

There was a deep sigh behind her, and she closed her eyes, waiting for the rejection. No one would feel sorry for her knowing how it really happened. She wasn’t forced, therefore how could it actually be rape?

“You didn’t accept it. You didn’t ask for that to happen to you. What happened was rape because he was in a position of power. He should have never done that to you.”

Joan closed her eyes, embarrassed now when she realized it was Vera who was holding her and not Kaz. She never planned on telling Vera that. Not now at least. 

“I never said no to him. It just happened.”

Vera squeezed her tighter. “He knew what he was doing. He was the professional, the doctor. You were the patient, and you were heavily medicated. You don’t even remember when I visited you, so he took advantage of you in that state. Do you understand me? He was in the wrong, not you.”

“I’m no victim. I am always in control,” she said, remembering the same words she said to him before she was released.

“Not everyone is in control all the time, not even you,” Vera whispered. “He abused you, and if you never consented then that is rape, nevermind that he was in a position of power.”

“I can’t have a child that was born of this,” she said, her breath hitching as a tear rolled down her cheek.

“Joan, we’ll get through this,” Vera whispered, hugging her close.

“I’m not a good person, and the baby would be better off without knowing his or her parents.”

“Your baby doesn’t need to know him, but this is your child. Please think about it before you do anything drastic.”

Joan closed her eyes tightly, remembering the years she spent with her father, and sometimes wondering if he ever wanted her. If he ever loved her, or if she was just a burden. She didn’t want her child to feel the same way.

He never showed me love, so how can I love my child? 

“He used to say that emotion leads to mistakes. I’m too emotional right now to think.”

Vera kissed the back of her neck. “I’ll be here for you no matter what you decide.”

Joan felt a heaviness in her heart, and she thought of a little baby boy or baby girl and holding them in her arms. She imagined what it would be like for her to hold something so precious, and especially one that was a part of her. Could she really do that? 

Will I ever forgive myself?

She sighed, taking Vera’s hand and moving it over her stomach. Vera stroked her hand and stomach, moving her hand under her shirt and gently rubbing back and forth until Joan felt sleepy.

“Just take some time,” she whispered. Joan allowed herself to relax under her touch, turning over to face her. She looked into her eyes, seeing the tenderness there. Reaching up to stroke Vera’s cheek, she kissed her softly.

“I don’t have time. I… I’m going to have this baby.”

“Are you sure?” 

Joan wasn’t sure, but knew that it was the right thing to do. She couldn’t harm her child, no matter how she felt about the situation. 

“Yes,” she said simply. Vera stroked her arm, and she kissed her again. 

“I’ll help you in any way I can.”

Joan smiled gently, resting her head on Vera’s shoulder as she held her. She was afraid, but she knew that no matter what, her child would be loved.

“Emotion leads to mistakes.”

I’ll love you in the way he never could with me. 

Chapter Text

Joan waited outside of Vera's office, growing more impatient as time went on. She knocked on the door, not even waiting for a reply as she opened it.

Vera was busily going through some paperwork, glancing up and sighing. “Not now, Joan.”

“Have you forgotten about today?”

Vera raised a brow, looking slightly irritated. “I have quite a lot on my plate right now, so you’ll have to be more specific.”

Joan tightened her jaw, shaking her head. “You have no idea, do you? You’re such a disappoinTment.”

Vera glared at her, and Joan would have smirked if she wasn’t so angry. Instead she returned the glare. Normally such a look would have intimidated others in the past, but Vera was becoming more used to it. Not quite as phased by it as she used to be.

“Ferguson, you’re here in my prison. You don’t get to speak to me that way.”

“Your prison?” Joan gave a small, smug smile. “It will never be your prison. You wouldn’t have been in this chair if it weren’t for me.”

Vera’s eyes tightened, a flicker of hurt in her eyes before they hardened. “Is there anything else you’d like to say about how I conduct my job?” Vera asked coolly.

Joan was hurt that Vera hadn’t even penciled this into her calendar. She knew how important this was to Joan. After all it was her idea.

She kept her mouth closed, the movement of her tongue sliding over her teeth. “Nothing more than the usual. I’ll leave you be, Governor.”

Joan wanted to slam the door, but instead she closed it ever so quietly. Anger could be like that for her. She wanted to scream, to grip Vera’s arms and shake her. But instead, she didn’t let such feelings overwhelm her. Or at the very least, she tried to bring them back under control. Just like what her father taught her.

She walked swiftly down the corridors, ignoring the verbal jabs from the other prisoners and the disgusting sexual taunts from Gambaro. She was beginning to develop a very tiny bump, and she was glad that her tracksuit hid it well for now. She wondered how much longer she could hide her pregnancy from the other prisoners.

She felt someone grab her arm, and she yanked it back. Gambaro snickered, licking her lips at her and waving her tongue. “Have you nothing better to do with your time, Lucy?”

“Oh, I’m sure I can think of plenty of things to do. Why don’t you come and visit me and the boys, Freak? We can give you a very good time. Maybe finish what we started.”

Joan narrowed her eyes, but her heart began to pound. Would she always have to watch her back until they got their pound of flesh?

She was about to speak until she heard another voice. “Juice, what did I say? Leave her alone. If you can’t, then we’ll just have to have a little chat at the steam press.”

Bea stared at Juice, glaring at her. Joan raised her brow while they walked away, looking over at Bea. “Thank you,” she said quietly.

“Don’t thank me. I’m not doing this for you. I made a promise to the Governor. And if you weren’t in your... situation that you are now, I wouldn’t try so hard to keep that promise.”

Joan nodded. “I see. I’m still grateful to you.” That was partly true, even though she deep down hated Bea for defying her in the last few months. She made her to be a fool, and the only reason why Joan was keeping even more of a low profile was because of her baby. 

She would have kept a low profile for other reasons, but even she had principles, a moral code if you will, to put the needs of her baby first before her own.

She sighed as she stood outside the office of Bridget Westfall. She may not want to attend these mandatory sessions, but she would always be on time for them. 

“Hello, Joan. It’s good to see you again. And I’m glad you decided to come on your own,” Bridget said, smiling.

Joan rolled her eyes. “I didn’t exactly have a choice. Vera forgot about my session today, so I had to go without her.”

“How did that feel when she forgot?”

Joan wasn’t expecting that question. She fully expected Westfall to take Vera’s side and berate her for even thinking she would have time to attend.

“It made me angry,” she said flatly.

“I imagine you would be since you two have developed a close bond. What else did you feel?”

“All I felt was anger,” she reiterated. “What else would there be?”

“I’ve found that anger is often a mask for hurt. But maybe all you did was feel anger like you said.”

Joan swallowed. “I do feel… hurt. I know she’s very busy, but I would have thought she’d have made this a priority to attend. I guess I’m no different to her than the other prisoners.”

“Do you want to feel different?” Bridget asked curiously.

“I am different. I was her mentor, and once her friend. She’s the one who wanted me to do this, and it was completely against my wishes. Yet she’s not even here. I always knew she was disloyal,” she said quietly.

“Is loyalty important to you, Joan?”

“Yes. Loyalty and trust.”

“Do you think you can learn to trust me?”

Joan hesitated. “I don’t know.” 

Bridget nodded. “I hope we can work on that, especially since we’ll be seeing each other for the next few weeks. Tell me, how was it for you when you were in the psychiatric hospital?”

“I don’t remember everything I experienced there, but it felt like a different kind of prison. But sometimes… sometimes I felt safe,” she whispered.

“What made you feel safe there?” Bridget asked softly.

Joan remembered the times she spoke to the psychiatrist, and how she listened to music. How gentle he was with her in the beginning. 

“I didn’t have a choice to be there, but I remember listening to music. And my doctor was… he was kind.”

“Everyone needs kindness, Joan.”

Joan’s eyebrows furrowed, remembering exactly what happened between them as time went on.

“What are you feeling now, Joan?” Bridget asked gently.

“I don’t understand how someone so kind can later be so deceptive,” she said quietly.

“Who are you referring to?”

“That doctor. How could I not see it?” She said. She had recognized it later, but by then she decided she had to use it for her survival, as a way to get out of there.

Bridget’s eyes softened. “Is that how you became pregnant?”

Joan’s breath hitched. “Yes.” Damn the emotions caused by this pregnancy!

“Did you want to have a relationship with him?”

“No, I didn’t. I’m not even attracted to men, but it happened. And I let it happen,” she finally admitted with shame.

Bridget shook her head. “He took advantage of you. You weren’t in a position to be able to think clearly and give proper consent.”

“I’m disgusted with myself for even encouraging it.”

“Do you think you encouraged it?”

“Well, if I didn’t say no, isn’t that what I was doing?”

Bridget took a deep breath. “Just because you didn’t say no, does not mean that you encouraged it. Sometimes in these situations when we develop a rapport with someone in that position, things can become blurred. He obviously knew how to get you to trust him and feel comfortable around him.”

Joan remembered how he spoke to her about her childhood and intimacy or lack thereof, and the times she felt vulnerable and lonely. When he first began to touch her arm or leg, she was confused on how to respond to it. 

“Is it possible to feel disgusted but also confused by wanting someone… anyone to give you affection?” 

Bridget gave her a sad but compassionate look. “It’s possible to be disgusted, but also your mind and body feel confused when you’re lonely and desperately want comfort and affection. You were in a very vulnerable state, and he should have never abused you in that way. Please remember that, Joan. It’s not your fault for what he was doing to you, and it’s not your fault for feeling any of those things.”

It was when Bridget handed her a box of tissues that she realized she was crying, silent tears rolling down her cheeks. Her voice was tight with emotion. “I never wanted it. I never wanted that with him.”

“I know. He’s a predator, and they often know exactly what they’re doing. Rape and sexual abuse like that can be very insidious. You were a victim and I believe you, Joan.”

Joan felt all of the tension drain away from her body once those words were spoken, not realizing just how important it was to hear her say that. It was one thing to come from Vera, it was another to come from Bridget.

“I am no victim.”  Words spoken then as a defense mechanism, not only to him but within herself. To protect herself from everything she experienced.

“Thank you,” Joan said quietly, wiping her eyes with her thumb.

“You’re welcome. I’m afraid our time is up for now, but I hope to see you again next week. With or without Vera. This was a good session, and I’m hopeful for ones we have in the future.”

Joan nodded, feeling a little vulnerable and self conscious at her display of emotion.

“If Vera does come, will you tell her what we discussed today?” Joan asked warily.

“No, I won’t. Our sessions are strictly confidential. Everything you tell me in this room stays here. I’ll see you soon. Have a good day, Joan.”

 


 

It was late at night now, and she hadn’t seen Vera since she was in her office. 

You forgot my session, and you’re not here now. Typical.  

Remembering how it went with Westfall, she stared at the wall in the dark. Bending her knees, she wrapped an arm around herself. 

Alone, rejected. Just like with everyone else. Why did I think Vera would be any different? 

She tried to hold onto the anger she felt, but all that was left was pain. She wondered if this was how Jiana must have felt when she was pregnant. Scared and alone.

She heard the sound of keys unlocking her cell. She could make out the slim outline of Vera in the darkness, listening to her soft footsteps as she approached her bed.

“Joan, are you awake?”

Joan didn’t say anything, breathing quietly. Vera sighed and sat on the bed next to her. She stiffened when she felt Vera touch her back. 

“Not now, Vera,” she said, repeating the same words Vera said to her earlier.

Vera pulled her hand back. “I’m sorry about earlier. I was very busy and feeling stressed. The time of your appointment completely slipped my mind, and I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you.”

Joan felt a lump in her throat, hating herself for being on the verge of tears. “Today was hard but I got through it.”

She closed her eyes when Vera stroked her hair, feeling as if she was going to break down sobbing from all the emotions she felt today. The ones she expressed, and the ones she held in.

“I should have been there.”

“Yes, you should have, but I’m the prisoner and you’re the governor. We can’t always be together,” she said sadly.

“I’m trying to be here for you the best that I can. You’re not alone. Just because I’m busy doesn’t mean I don’t think about you.”

Joan was silent, realizing how irrational she felt in this moment. Of course Vera wouldn’t always be able to be there. They weren’t in the right circumstances for this to happen. She caressed her stomach, wondering if her child would ever feel as alone as she did.

“I’m always alone. No one can ever mend that feeling,” she whispered.

Vera kissed her cheek, her lips trailing over her cheekbones and neck. Joan closed her eyes, not able to resist as she turned towards her and kissed her. Vera caressed her cheek, kissing her deeply and tenderly. Joan sighed into her mouth, unbuttoning her uniform shirt. 

Vera kissed her again, whispering against her mouth. “Let me try to mend whatever I can between us.”

She kissed her jaw and neck, slowly taking off each other’s clothes. The warmth of Vera’s naked skin against hers made her hungry for more. She spread her legs and wrapped one of Vera’s legs around her hip. She could feel how hot and wet Vera was, pushing her thigh in between her legs.

They laid there together, this time allowing Vera a little more control than she did before. Vera rocked her hips against her, moaning softly when Vera pressed her hands over her wrists onto the pillow. 

She surprisingly liked the gentle pressure on her wrists, arching her body to feel more of Vera, kissing her neck.

Vera’s hand traveled lower until she felt her stroking and spreading her wetness around. Her body hummed with arousal, slowly rocking her hips with hers. 

“Will you let me taste you?” Vera whispered, kissing her.

Joan shivered, not having felt that with a woman in quite some time. “Are you sure?” 

Vera nodded. “Yes, I want to. Let me take care of you tonight.”

Joan held her close, kissing her neck and shoulders before kissing her deeply and passionately. She needed Vera up here for a little bit longer before she did. She needed that connection.

Vera seemed to understand, caressing and holding Joan tightly. She moaned into her mouth as she kissed her more deeply, rolling her tongue over Vera’s.

Vera stroked her breast and shoulders, her neck as she moved against her. And Joan trembled with desire when Vera kissed slowly down the rest of her body. 

Soft kisses were placed against her stomach, gentle ones that she kept giving her. Hands lovingly stroked her stomach over her small baby bump, and she spread her legs willingly for Vera.

Vera kissed her inner thighs, sucking on her skin as she held her close, kissing her wet cunt and licking it slowly up and down. Joan moaned, loving the feel of her soft mouth and tongue.

“You’re so wet,” Vera whispered, kissing and sucking gently on her wet lips. Joan stroked her hair, beginning to rock her hips into her mouth.

Vera’s tongue slid inside her, and she moaned and squeezed her tongue deeper inside. All she wanted to do was grind herself against Vera’s mouth and tongue. Vera moaned softly, licking and teasing her as she thrust her tongue in and out. 

Joan let out soft, low moans when she felt Vera’s tongue slowly lick up and down again, this time focusing on her clit and making soft, and slow circles. Joan circled her hips, rocking them a little faster.

She arched her back when Vera started to suck her clit into her mouth, her hips twitching in response. Vera pressed down on her hips, holding them down as she licked and sucked. 

She panted, rocking her hips faster and whimpering when she felt the beginning of her orgasm. She gently held Vera’s head to her, lifting her hips and grinding against her mouth. 

“Come for me, Joan. Let go,” Vera whispered hotly. 

Heart pounding, she felt her body flush with heat as she tensed and trembled, coming in Vera’s mouth. 

She closed her eyes, moaning softly when Vera moaned with her. She panted, stroking Vera’s hair, twitching a little when Vera gently kissed her clit and wet lips.

“I’m too sensitive,” Joan said, her hands shaking as she ran her fingers through her hair. Vera rested her cheek against her inner thigh, kissing and stroking her skin.

Vera hugged her hips before moving up to wrap her arms around her. Joan blushed with embarrassment, feeling suddenly very vulnerable and exposed at how easily she came undone in Vera’s arms.

“What’s wrong?” Vera asked, kissing her softly. 

Joan sighed, stroking her hair and arm gently, bringing Vera’s head down to rest against her breast. 

“Nothing is wrong. I’m just not used to letting someone else have that much control,” she whispered.

Vera looked up at her. “Are you okay? Was it… nice?”

Joan smiled. “It was more than nice. I wouldn’t always let just anyone do that with me, so consider yourself lucky.”

Vera smiled back. “Thank you for letting me.”

Joan cupped her face, kissing her deeply. “I don’t know how to explain it, but I wanted you to take control. I needed it. I’m not used to needing anyone.”

Vera hugged her, kissing her softly as they laid together. “I don’t always act like it, but… I need you too.”

Joan’s eyes softened, caressing Vera’s cheek and kissing her forehead. “I need you tonight. Please stay,” she whispered.

“You don’t have to ask,” Vera said, nuzzling her neck. Joan sighed softly and closed her eyes, holding Vera close in her arms.

Chapter Text

“Vera! It’s so nice to see you. Come in, come in,” Bridget said as she gave her a hug.

“I hope you’re in the mood for some wine.”

“Oh, that’s always a yes,” Bridget said and smiled.

The smell of lasagna was in the air, and she smiled. Bridget’s house was warm and inviting, a stark contrast to the loneliness she felt at home. Walking into her kitchen, she smiled awkwardly when she saw Franky.

“Hello, Doyle. I’m sorry, I mean Franky.”

“It’s okay. You’ll still always be Ms. Bennett to me,” Franky said and smiled gently.

Vera nodded as she sat down, sitting across from the two women. While she didn’t approve of Franky visiting Bridget while on parole, she knew they were in love, and she couldn’t deny her friend happiness. Franky also deserved to be happy.

“How are you doing, Franky?”

“Not too bad. Sometimes it feels a little weird to be on the outside, but it sure as hell beats being back at that place.”

“Vera is doing very well as the new governor,” Bridget said.

“I’m sure anyone would be better than the Freak. How is it with her there, anyway?”

Vera wondered if Bridget told Franky what was going on with Joan. Glancing over at Bridget, she hesitated before she answered Franky. 

“What is it?” Franky asked.

“She’s adjusting to the prison,” Vera said carefully.

“You know she’s plotting something. She always does. You need to be careful with her, and tell Red not to do anything stupid.”

“Smith gave me her word that she wouldn’t do anything to Ferguson.”

“But this is Red we’re talking about. She has life in prison, so there’s no reason for her not to kill Ferguson. I don’t want her to get into more trouble, but we know we’d all be better off without the Freak.”

Vera bit her lip, thinking of the strong and vulnerable woman she had come to know. Bridget sipped her wine, carefully setting it down.

“Let’s hope that Bea is rational enough to leave her alone. I also don’t think she’ll do anything to Ferguson. She’s been going through a lot,” she murmured.

“Yeah, ever since Debbie died it’s been very hard on Red. I’ll try to visit her when I can.”

“I wasn’t talking about Bea,” Bridget said quietly.

Franky stared at her, motioning her fork towards her. “Gidge, what’s going on? Since when are you sympathizing with Ferguson? It wasn’t too long ago that you called her a cunt during the psych evaluation.” 

“Franky!” Bridget snapped.

“Sorry for my language, Ms. Bennett.”

“No, it’s quite all right. I remember watching on the CCTV when it happened. I would have said the same myself at the time.”

“Why are you both acting so weird?”

“Franky, what I’m about to tell you must be kept secret.”

“Vera… are you sure?” Bridget asked cautiously.

Franky’s eyes darted back and forth between them. “What’s going on?”

“You cannot tell anyone about this, but because you and Bridget are… together, I think it would be less of a burden on her if I told you.”

“Would you just spit it out already?!”

“Ferguson is pregnant.” Vera held her breath as Franky stared with wide eyes, then started to laugh. 

“You’re a riot, Ms. Bennett. That’s a good joke, really.”

“It’s not a joke. She found out she was pregnant almost 6 months ago. Proctor and Smith also know, but it won’t be too much longer before everyone else does. She can’t hide under larger clothes forever. Some just think she’s gained weight, but it won’t be too long before the rest of the prisoners see that she’s pregnant.”

“Gidge, is this true?”

“Yes, and it complicates many things.”

“Such as what?” 

“What we thought we knew about Ferguson, as well as our professional judgment. I’ve come to know her in a different way in the past couple of months. I can’t speak about what we’ve talked about in our sessions, but it’s very important that she is kept safe,” Bridget replied.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me this!”

“I never knew how to bring it up. After everything you went through with her, and what she put us through, it made it even harder.”

“She’s what? 50-years-old? How the hell could she become pregnant?”

“It can happen even at later ages in life. It’s a higher risk pregnancy but it can be done safely,” Bridget answered.

“She’s only doing this to get to you. The both of you. You know how she works. There is a reason she didn’t just have an abortion, and it’s definitely not because she wants to keep the child. What does Red say about this?”

“Not much, other than she promised me that she wouldn’t hurt her or the baby, and that no one else would. Proctor has even stronger feelings about it since she and the Red Right Hand have kind of taken Joan under their wing,” Vera said.

“She’s playing all of you. This is the perfect situation for her to seek the trust and protection of the other women. And the baby? Do you really think it’s going to have a normal life? Definitely not while in the prison, and not with that Freak as the mother. She destroys everyone she touches, so if I were you, I’d get that baby away from her once it’s born,” Franky said vehemently. 

Franky forcefully pushed back her chair. Vera didn’t know what to say to her, completely taken aback by what she said.

“Where are you going?” Bridget called, going after Franky in the living room.

“Thank you for dinner Gidge, but I think I’ve lost my appetite. I’ll see you later. Goodnight Ms. Bennett.”

“Night,” Vera called out softly, frowning at her plate as she wondered if some of what Franky said was true. 

Bridget sighed when she sat down. “I’m sorry about that. I didn’t think she’d react that strongly.”

“It’s okay. I guess I don’t blame her. Do you think what she said was true? Are we being used by Ferguson?”

Bridget’s eyes were sad. “I guess we can never really know, but I don’t believe so. At least, I don’t think she is right now. She’s in a very vulnerable state, and needs to feel supported no matter what.”

“I agree,” Vera said softly. She wondered though, if Joan really would be a healthy parent for her child. Would she do more harm than good?

She remembered the look in her eyes when she held up the picture of Jianna. 

“I will annihilate you.” The look of rage and hate reminded her of just how vengeful Joan could be, and it worried her.

 


 

Walking down the corridors of Wentworth, she wasn’t sure why she was here instead of at home. It was late, and she should be in bed. Quietly she opened the door to Joan’s cell.

The older woman was lying on her side, gently touching her pregnant stomach which was even more noticeable with just the white long sleeve top. She slowly walked forward before she gently sat down on the bed. 

She was yanked forward, falling onto the floor. The breath was knocked out of her, and she tried to breathe as she stared up at Joan. The sharp blade of a shiv scraped against her throat.

“It’s me!” She gasped. Joan was shaking slightly and breathing hard as she stared down at Vera.

“You really need to stop doing that!” She hissed.

“I’m sorry! I just… I wanted to see you,” she said, rubbing her neck. Joan moved off of her and sat on the bed, sighing deeply. She was still trembling and Vera touched her hand. She was happy when Joan curled her fingers around hers.

“You’re trembling. Do I need to put you into Protection?”

“No! You don’t need to do that. I have Kaz and the others here to help me. I just don’t trust many of the other women.”

“Are you sure? You’re starting to show more, Joan. You can’t hide this pregnancy anymore.”

“I know,” she said quietly. “Just please don’t put me into Protection… at least not yet. I don’t think I could stand the isolation.”

“I would come and see you, and Bridget too.”

“I appreciate that Vera, but it’s not enough. And you and I wouldn’t be able to have the same privacy.”

Vera understood she didn’t want to be isolated, but knew that being in Protection would be best for her and the baby. Could there be another reason why she was refusing to be put into Protection? No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t shake the nagging feeling she had.

Joan gasped, clutching her stomach. 

“What’s wrong?” Vera asked, alarmed.

“I think the baby just kicked,” Joan said. 

Vera moved her hand closer to her stomach. “May I?”

Joan stared into her eyes. “Of course,” she said as she took her hand and guided it to her stomach.

“This is the first time she’s kicked,” Joan said.

“She?” Vera asked, smiling when she felt a kick.

“Yes, I’m having a girl.”

“Are you happy it’s a girl?”

“I don’t know how to feel. The idea of even having a child is still a foreign concept to me.”

“I can only imagine,” Vera said softly.

Joan smiled gently, still holding Vera’s hand. She reached into her pillow case and pulled out a piece of paper. 

“This is what she looks like now,” she said, handing Vera the picture of the sonogram.

Vera stared at the image of the baby in black and white, still strange to her that Joan was having a baby. But it made her feel warm and protective in a way that she didn’t think she would. She was ashamed for ever questioning her real intentions.

“Everything is going to be okay, Joan,” Vera said, squeezing her hand.

Joan stared at the sonogram, caressing the image gently with her thumb. “I hope so.”

Chapter Text

Joan sighed as she stood under the warm water. She was tired, but a late night shower helped her relax. It was one of the few times she was allowed real privacy. That was one of the things she missed most about life outside of prison. Stroking her pregnant belly, she tried to imagine what her life would be like if she was in her home. What would life be like for her and her child?

She imagined a little girl, one that looked very much like she did as a child and wondered if her father’s influence would seep through. She didn’t want her daughter to have the same fears and anxieties she felt as a young girl. It would be different with her. She wanted to pass on her love of opera and classical music, literature, and of course fencing. 

I’ll never be able to do those things as long as I’m here. She’ll never be able to have a normal life. Who will take care of her when I can’t?

She had no family, and there was no way in hell she was ever going to allow the father anywhere near her child. She never wanted to ask Vera to take on such a burden, but she wasn’t sure she had a choice now. 

After rinsing her hair, she stepped out of the shower to wrap a towel around herself. Kaz stood watch nearby in order to make sure nothing happened to her.

So it came as a huge surprise that Gambaro and her boys walked into the showers. Joan’s body tensed as she tightened the towel around her.

“What are you doing here?”

“Kaz was stupid to be alone. We came here to finish what we started. No one goes through here without a little welcome from me and the boys. And I’d say you’re way overdo, Freak.”

Kaz limped into the room, sporting a black and blue bruised eye. There was blood trickling down her busted lip. 

Joan’s eyes widened when Kaz ran up and jumped onto Gambaro’s back. The other women turned towards them, beating on Kaz as she squeezed her arms around Gambaro’s neck. The older woman’s face was turning blue, and Joan began feeling rage. She grabbed a bar of soap and wrapped it in a towel. Pulling one of the women by her hair, she swung the bar of soap into her stomach. This was a very painful method to use against someone, and she wanted them to feel as much pain as possible. 

It didn’t take long for her own towel to fall to the floor. Kaz was wrestling Gambaro to the floor, and Joan raised the soap again to strike one of the other women, and paused as they both ran away. That left the three of them alone.

“You’re pregnant? What kind of person would fuck you?”

Joan narrowed her eyes and Kaz held Gambaro’s arms tightly. She wrapped the towel even more tightly around the bar of soap and swung it hard into Gambaro’s stomach. She wheezed and coughed, doubling over.

“Joan, that is enough!” Kaz said.

“She’s not dying. It’s not over until I say it is. She needs to learn her lesson. I think after everything she’s done to others in this prison, she can withstand some pain,” Joan sneered.

Gambaro wheezed, bending her body to avoid being hit again. “I almost feel sorry for the little shit. It’ll have a cunt of a mother like you. But nothing makes my skin crawl more than thinking of a mini Freak running around here.” She hit Kaz in her side, breaking free as she charged after Joan.

Joan swung the towel of soap and hit Gambaro again. She grit her teeth as she felt the rage building inside her. 

Gambaro needs to hurt. 

She bent to hit her again but Gambaro swung her leg out. Joan stumbled as she lost her balance on the wet floor. Panic set in as she twisted her body and tried to break her fall. She winced when she landed on her side.

Her body hurt, but she was more worried about her baby. She didn’t land on her belly, but a fall of any kind is dangerous. She touched her stomach, desperately needing to see if she could feel her baby move. 

She heard movement and her eyes flickered over to Gambaro who grabbed the towel of soap. She smiled as she wrapped it tighter in the towel.

“We don’t need two of you around here.” 

Joan twisted her body away, trying to grab anything to push her upright. 

“Juice!” Kaz yelled, running towards them.

Joan took advantage of the moment as Gambaro was gearing up to hit Kaz. Joan grabbed a shower curtain to keep her balance. It wasn’t exactly difficult to get up on her own, but with her growing belly and the slippery floor, it made it even more of a struggle. 

Joan breathed hard and slowly moved forward. She yanked Gambaro by her hood and brought it over her head. Using the strength she had left, she pulled the towel and soap away from Gambaro. She wrapped her arm tightly around Gambaro’s neck and spoke low in her ear.

“I’m not afraid to kill you. In fact I think everyone here would congratulate me for it. If you so much as try to touch me or harm my baby again, I’ll make sure that you never get to use that filthy tongue of yours.”

Joan tightened her arm even more, feeling Gambaro wheezing and growing weak in her arms. 

“Joan! You’ll kill her! Think about how many more years you’ll get,” Kaz said. 

“I could just finish this now. It would be so easy.”

“Yes, you could. But they’d know you did it. Don’t waste your life on her.”

Joan grunted and let go of Gambaro. Kaz moved in front of Joan. “Are we done, Juice?! You know what will happen if Bea hears about this!”

“Yeh, we’re done,” she mumbled as she rubbed her throat. 

”Good,” she said flatly. Joan winced as she tried to put on her robe and Kaz moved to help her. “We need to leave. You should go to Medical.”

Walking outside of the showers, Joan shook her head. “That won’t be necessary,” she said quietly. 

“You fell in there. You need to be checked out.”

“I fell on my side, and other than feeling sore I don’t think there is anything wrong.” Joan was afraid of what she would find out if she went. Even if it was on her side, she wasn’t young and her age already made this a high risk pregnancy.

“Joan, please just go.”

Joan stroked her stomach and took a shuddering breath. Please let her be okay.

 


 

She was nervous during the ultrasound, but the nurse assured her that everything was fine.

“Are you sure?” She asked anxiously.

“Yes, you can see her here,” she said and smiled. 

Joan watched the image. It was still hard for her to imagine that as her child. She felt tears well up in her eyes.

“I thought I might have lost her,” she said quietly.

“No, you fell on your side, and our bodies protect the baby from these types of falls. You’re nearing the end of your second trimester. It’s more later during the third trimester that these types of accidents can be dangerous for the both of you. Not that you shouldn’t be careful now, but you don’t have to worry. Everything is perfectly fine in there.”

“Thank you,” she said softly. She gently stroked her stomach, and felt herself growing very tired.

“I’m sorry, I’m just so tired lately.”

“That’s okay. Why don’t you just rest for a little bit until you can go back to your cell?”

Joan nodded as she tried to make herself more comfortable. Her body was so tired and she slowly closed her eyes. 


 

She was half asleep when she felt soft fingers stroking her hair and forehead. Opening her eyes, she stared up at Vera. 

“What are you doing here?” 

“I heard that you had a fall in the shower. I’m just making sure you’re okay.”

“I’m fine, thank you.”

“Is there a coincidence that Proctor and Gambaro are also both in Medical?” She asked carefully.

Joan glanced over at the two women, and then back at Vera. “I don’t know anything about that. I fell. I’m rather clumsy these days. Are you here to see how I’m doing or to interrogate me?” 

Vera sighed. “I was worried about you. I just want to know what happened. I know you’re not telling me the truth.”

“I can’t tell you everything that goes on here.”

“I’m only asking so I can protect you.”

Joan smiled sadly. “I know. I can’t tell you, Vera. Not right now…”

Vera sighed, and leaned down to whisper in her ear. “Do you want me to see you later tonight?”

Joan nodded. “Yes, please. I don’t want to be alone.”

“You won’t be. I promise I’ll always be here for you,” Vera said gently.

Chapter Text

Joan crossed her legs in front of Bridget, sighing impatiently. “And that’s exactly how it happened. A simple nasty fall in the shower.” 

Joan didn’t exactly know what to say to her, since she didn’t want to actually talk about what really happened. She was always so good at lying, yet Bridget was able to very easily see when she wasn’t telling the truth.

“I know the women don’t like divulging what really goes on, but I was hoping you could talk to me about it.”

Joan didn’t always understand why she kept coming back to these sessions. She was beginning to trust Bridget, even just a little bit but it was still difficult. One false move or wrong word, and whatever little rapport they developed would go up in smoke.

“Hypothetically speaking, if what happened to me wasn’t an accident, what does it matter? It’s over and done with.”

“I think how you feel right now about everyone in prison knowing about your pregnancy is very important. Now, we knew everyone would know sooner or later, but you wanted to keep it as hidden as possible. You’ve spoken about being afraid of what would happen. Everyone knows, so how do you feel about it now?”

Joan had flashbacks to the women jeering at her, some in complete surprise and pity. But not pity for her. Pity for her child. The only ones who were understanding were Kaz and some of her crew, and of course Vera. But even Vera couldn’t completely understand everything she dealt with on a daily basis.

“You know, the women hung a doll like figure in my likeness saying ‘Freak’ across its forehead. Despite the fact that I’m pregnant, they’re still as vicious as ever. So you’re asking me how I feel knowing that no matter what, they’d still like to kill me? I feel terrified that these broken women… these animals might make an innocent child suffer.”

“Why don’t you go into Protection?”

Joan asked herself that almost every day, but she felt like it would be telling them that they won. And despite how often Vera came to visit her, it wasn’t enough. She needed more support.

“I just need a little more time.”

“Are you afraid?” Bridget asked her gently.

Joan swallowed. “Yes,” she said tightly. 

“It’s okay to be afraid. But if you ever feel that you or your baby’s life is in danger, please put yourself into Protection.”

Joan sighed, her emotions overwhelming her. She was scared, angry, sad, and confused. Her lips trembled with the effort to hold everything in. 

Bridget watched her with sympathetic eyes, and Joan felt her chest tightening. “It wasn’t an accident,” she said hoarsely.

Bridget sighed and nodded. “You really do need to be moved into Protection.”

“I can’t yet,” Joan said.

“And why not?”

A tear slowly rolled down her cheek. “I need the interaction. I don’t want to be so isolated. I don’t have--” She paused when she thought of her father. “I have no family,” she said quietly.

“Do you consider some of the women your family?”

“No, I never could. I’m not like them. They’re too… damaged. But I rely on their companionship and their… empathy. If not for me, then for my daughter.” 

Bridget smiled. “You don’t always refer to her as your daughter. I think that’s one of the first few times you’ve spoken in a less detached way about her.”

“That was before I could clearly imagine her, and now I might be too damaged for her,” she said tearfully.

“No one is ever too damaged, Joan,” Bridget said gently.

“I don’t know… I’ve done so many things in my life that I don’t feel guilty about. And then there are many others that I question whether or not I was doing the right thing. I don’t know how to be a mother. Some days I just wish it would all go away, hoping I’d wake up from some strange dream. Then I have dreams about her, my father. And about her father…” She said quietly.

“And?” Bridget prodded gently.

“I don’t want her to ever think I didn’t want her, because that’s what I always thought my dad felt,” she said as she began to cry. “That he didn’t want me.”

Bridget handed her a box of tissues. “Those are such hurtful feelings to keep inside.”

“I know he didn’t want me. After my mother died, he… he was just so angry. Everything was my fault. What if I do the same to her?”

“Joan, these fears you have are a level of awareness not everyone has. You can be different with her. Learn from the mistakes of the past, and don’t repeat them. You’ll be okay,” she said gently.

Joan sighed and stroked her stomach, hoping that Bridget was right. “Thank you.”

Chapter Text

Joan was very good at eavesdropping. She had a lot of time on her hands in the prison, and listening to Jake tell her how interesting she was elevated her ego a little bit. It wasn’t very often that people didn’t look at her with mistrust and disdain. While Kaz and her crew were different, it was still not exactly the same with them. They were lower in the hierarchy compared to the rest of the prisoners. But she did admit that Kaz seemed to be the most ideal to challenge Smith for Top Dog. She wondered just how long the Queen Bea could go in here before she fell down from the top.

She shook her head back to the present and observed Jake’s agitation. She smiled smugly. It didn’t take long for Jake to show her more of his true self, especially in a desperate situation. She didn’t feel sorry for him, especially not since he was a drug dealer. He was no different than the other criminals in the prison, and while she didn’t like his new fascination with Vera, she knew she could use what was happening to her advantage. His frustration and veiled hints about needing money were not lost on her. 

“They’re gonna kill me,” he said, quite pathetically actually. “Fuck!”

“Well, if it’s just about money, then that’s something I’ve got plenty of. I could get a lawyer to transfer it in a matter of minutes. How much do you need?” He would take the bribe because he had no other choice. This would be what cleared her, and what would ensure the safety of her child.

He stared at her with a bit of a dumbfounded look on his face. “Ninety grand.”

“Hmm,” she said, nodding her head in approval.

“What do I have to do for it?”

 


 

Joan smiled, and gently caressed her pregnant belly. Jake taking care of Jesper was exactly what she needed for her trial. She’d be getting out in just a few days. It was nice to be out of the standard teal, and in suitable maternity clothing. But even that was strange to her. She couldn’t just wear any of her old clothes, she had to find suitable ones that would fit her.

She stepped outside the van as she stood before the prison. Things were all finally coming into place. Vera stood by the gate, observing her with a confused and concerned expression. Joan wondered why she had that look on her face. 

“How did you do it?” Vera asked quietly. 

Joan lifted her brow. “You needn’t worry about that, Governor.”

Vera sighed and rolled her eyes. “You have a visitor.”

“I’m not in the mood for any visitors. I have more important things to do.”

“I think you’ll want to see this one,” Vera said seriously.

Something about Vera’s tone made her curious, but she could also detect worry in her voice and in her eyes. Joan spoke to her quietly. “Who is it?”

 


 

Joan walked into a room, and sat quietly. She never wanted to be in the visitors room with the rest of the inmates. As the door opened, her heart stopped beating for a few seconds, and she could have sworn all the blood drained from her face. 

“Hello, Joan. It’s nice to see you again.”

“Dr. Foster,” she said cautiously.

She hadn’t seen him since she left the psychiatric hospital, and thought she’d never see him again. Her heart beat faster with anxiety, and her hands felt cool and clammy. A strange reaction that she hadn’t expected to have.

Why did Vera let him in here?! Didn’t she remember who he was?

“Why are you here?” 

“I don’t mean any harm, Joan.”

“Is that so? I find that very hard to believe,” she said icily. 

“I know you didn’t leave my care in the best of terms, but--”

“Your care was nothing more than an easy way to prey on others. You’re lucky that you got away with my silence. There are so many like you that deserve to be punished. Why. Are. You. Here?”

He stared at her with that same gentle and empathetic look, the one that she fell for in the beginning. That she trusted…

“I saw you on the television, and couldn’t help but notice that you’re pregnant.”

Her heart beat faster, and she swallowed back the bile that was building. “I don’t have a very long time for visitation, so I suggest you get to the point and stop wasting my time.” She wanted to intimidate him, just like she did before with blackmail. She wanted to get into his face again and tell him that he fucked the wrong lunatic, and he shouldn’t ever forget it. 

“I just wanted to know, is it mine?”

The possessive phrase referring to her child, as if he had any right to be part of her life made her blood boil. She bit her tongue and tried to control her temper. 

“No, this child, my child has nothing to do with you. Especially if you want to keep your career,” she whispered.

He nodded, licking his lips and looked at her with mild sympathy. “Joan, I’m still unsure why you think what happened was taking advantage of you. I was pretty sure that you didn’t have a problem with it at the time.”

It took everything she had not to strangle him, and she looked down for a few seconds. She was angry, so angry that she didn’t know how much longer she could take this. But there was also a strange feeling of sadness and guilt, and she didn’t know why. Her eyes stung, and she bit her tongue harder to stop the tears. She tasted blood, and dug her nails into her thighs. 

I won’t cry. I won’t ever cry in front of him again.

“You and I both know that what you did was abuse. I was vulnerable, and drugged. You took advantage of me and raped me. The only thing I regret is that the selfish part of me kept your secret in order to save myself.” She stood up, and slowly leaned down and whispered in his ear. “You can’t harm me anymore, and if you ever come near me or my child again, I’ll make you wish you were dead. Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal,” he muttered.

“Officer!” She yelled, quickly stepping out the door. “Take me back to my unit.”

When she walked into her cell, she paused and stared at everything that she accumulated here. Books, magazines, news articles. Her eyes lingered on the new baby clothes and toys that Vera gave to her.

She slowly turned towards the mirror. Her face pale, she felt sick and gagged, quickly moving down to the toilet.

Joan vomited, breathing heavily as she knelt on the floor. It wasn’t comfortable at this stage, but she didn’t know what else to do. She vomited again, and shivered. A hand gently brushed through her hair, and she sighed. “Please Kaz, just leave me in peace.”

“Joan, it’s me,” Vera said gently.

Joan took a few deep breaths. “I don’t want you here,” she said angrily.

“Please, you’re sick. Let me take care of you.”

Joan lifted her head to meet her gaze. “Like you took care of me earlier? What possessed you to let him visit me? You had no right!” She moved to sit on the bed, needing to keep some distance from Vera.

“I didn’t know what to do, and I was afraid if you didn’t know he tried to visit you, that he might try again at a later time.”

“That’s a lame excuse,” she said bitterly. “If I had known it was him, I would have refused.”

“Everyone knew you were pregnant on TV. He knew that, you know he did.”

“Of course he did!” She snapped.

“I was just--I was afraid that if I refused, he would want to come and see you and the baby. And then I was afraid, if that happened, he’d want visitation or custody.”

“He won’t ever get custody. He won’t ever be able to see her. You should have told me, but then again you were always a disappointment, weren’t you?”

Vera pursed her lips. “Joan, I just panicked, I’m sorry.”

“How do you think I felt when I walked through those doors? I had no idea who it was. I had no way to stop the memories of that time. It was as if I was back there in that hospital. How could you do that?”

“I-I’m sorry, I was just trying to figure out what to do!”

“Leave,” she said quietly.

“Please, I--”

“Vera, I want you to leave.”

She wouldn’t make eye contact with her, and sighed when Vera knelt down in front of her. She was on her knees, pressing her lips against her hands. “Please don’t make me leave. I’m so sorry, I should have known better.” Joan’s breath was shaky as she gazed down at her.

“Yes, you should have,” she said tightly, trying to swallow the lump in her throat. 

Vera tenderly kissed her knuckles. “Can you forgive me?”

Joan pulled her closer, lifted her hand to cup her cheek, and lowered her hand over her throat. She slowly unbuttoned Vera’s shirt and dragged her fingernail across the collarbone, feeling Vera shiver when she slowly brought her nail down to her cleavage.

She was so angry and hurt, but couldn’t bear to lose Vera. The younger woman was stupid and naive, but…

I think I love her.

Joan looked into her pleading eyes and hugged her close, pressing her cheek to her breast. She sighed when Vera wrapped her arms around her, and kissed her forehead.

“I forgive you,” Joan cried as she finally let the tears come.

Chapter Text

Vera returned back to her office, not looking forward to the amount of paperwork she had to do. It never ended. New prisoners for each block, requests for parole hearings, endless reports, and all of this while being watched under a microscope by the board. They were happy with the changes she suggested, but at the same time she still lived in Joan’s shadow. Her presence as Governor lingered in this office, no matter how much she tried to fix it up to make it more her own. There was so much riding on her shoulders at the moment, and she wanted nothing more than to just be good at her job.

She knew Joan wanted to be reinstated, but she was having a hard time accepting that. Vera believed the new programs she implemented worked for the good of the women. Joan would never understand that or appreciate her ideas. 

Perhaps she was getting too ahead of herself. Joan hadn’t yet been released from prison, and while that would be happening soon, she still hasn’t had her baby yet. Vera sighed, thinking about how Joan was a few days ago. Kneeling on the floor and nauseous from anxiety. When she’d looked at her, she saw nothing but betrayal in her eyes, followed by fear and pain. Vera knew she had failed her.

Why am I so worried about the future of my position, when I didn’t protect her? 

She rubbed her forehead, hearing a knock at her door. 

“Smith is here to see you, Governor.”

“Thank you. Please come in, Smith.”

Bea’s eyes had a fire in them that Vera had seen before. She knew she was gearing up for a fight, and she had a feeling she knew what it was about.  Vera was so tired from it all. Some days she really didn’t want to keep doing this.

“So that’s it, eh? She just walks free. After everything she’s done and gotten away with. After everything she did to me, Franky, Jodie, Fletcher, and you too. She set this whole prison on fire because she’s a psycho, and you’re just going to let her out?”

Vera sighed. “It’s not my decision. The court didn’t have enough evidence or witnesses to prove that she was involved in any foul play. All they see is she saved someone’s child and had a bit of a mental breakdown after the fire.”

“I could have been a witness!” Bea exclaimed. Vera knew this to be true, but she decided that the only way Joan could get out of prison, was to make sure that she was in the clear with very little witnesses. She knew Joan had something to do with Jesper not showing up at the trial, even if she never admitted it to her. Vera knew it was wrong, but she had feelings for her. Those feelings grew deeper every day, and she couldn’t allow Joan and her child to suffer.

“Smith, I know you’re frustrated, but just let it go. Her trial is over, and she’s going to be very busy for a few months. I’m still Governor, and it’s going to stay that way unless they demote me.”

Bea bit her lip. “All right… if you say so, but why do I have a bad feeling about this?”

Vera shrugged. “Maybe because we’re not used to things being normal around here.”

 


 

Joan breathed deeply as she walked through the exit door. She was finally free, and it felt strange to her to get what she wanted. It was beautiful weather today, and very quiet. Almost too quiet. She wasn’t sure why that bothered her, and she felt an odd sense of déjà vu. She didn’t get those feelings often but this one made her hands tremble. She couldn’t explain why, and she immediately tensed when the door opened behind her. 

She relaxed as Vera walked out, shielding her eyes from the sun. “Do you need a ride home?” 

She sounded shy and unsure of herself. Joan smiled a little. “If you don’t mind, I would appreciate it. You know I don’t have… many friends,” she said quietly.

“I know,” Vera said, opening the door for her and slowly helping her inside. Joan felt so awkward trying to put her seat belt over her huge belly, and Vera quickly took the seat belt from her. “Let me do it.”

Joan breathed softly as she felt Vera gently pull the seat belt over her stomach, brushing the side of her hip as she buckled her in. “Okay, you’re all set.”

“Thank you,” Joan murmured.

She hadn’t been to her house in such a long time, that she felt both excited and anxious about it. “I don’t have anything for the baby at home.”

“I brought some stuff with me. We can get more.”

“I’ll have to get a bigger place for her, and make sure that everything is--”

“Joan, let’s just get you home first okay? We don’t need to worry about everything right now. We can get a crib for your bedroom so she can sleep in there with you.”

Joan nodded, realizing that this would be the norm for her soon. She rolled her eyes when she couldn’t get out of the car. “I need help,” she said flatly. 

Vera snickered and gently pulled her up, and Joan accidentally bumped into her, causing Vera to hold onto her. “You really are a little thing, aren’t you?” She smirked.

Vera blushed, and stepped back. “I’ll help bring everything inside. I should go to the store later, don’t you think? So you can have something to eat.”

“You don’t have to do that. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”

Joan knew her tone sounded snippy and she could see some of the hurt in Vera’s eyes. She nodded. “You’re right, I shouldn’t have assumed. I just wanted to help because you were just released, and I’m just trying to make things an easier transition for you.”

Joan’s eyes softened. “I understand what you’re trying to do. I’m sorry, I was too harsh. I’m a little tired actually, and maybe it would be best if you go to the store. All of this is a little overwhelming to me right now, and I could definitely use the solitude here.”

“Do you want me to just pick up a few things for you and then leave you alone?”

“I don’t know. I want to be alone, but I also don’t want to be. Does that make sense?”

“Yes, it does,” Vera said quietly.

Joan watched as Vera made a list of things to buy, and then she was finally alone in her home for the first time in months. She looked at her music collection, and sighed in relief. She played a soft melody. One that was calming and relaxing for her, and also for the baby. She touched the books in her living room, and turned to find the picture of her and her father together. She was just a young girl then, and who knew that she’d be where she is now. She tried to imagine what kind of grandfather he would have been. If he would have even wanted grandchildren. Would he be as disappointed in her about this like he was about everything else? She could almost hear his voice again.

“Emotion leads to mistakes.”

She couldn’t do the same to her child. Her life would not be perfect, but she’d do everything in her power to make sure she didn’t become her father.

She laid down on her couch, noticing that it didn’t exactly feel as comfortable as it once did. She looked up towards her bedroom and began a slow trek upstairs. She already knew where she could place a crib, but she was too tired to keep focusing on anything else. She laid on her side, stroking her belly and wincing at the kick she felt. 

“You don’t want to take a nap, huh?” She gently kept stroking her stomach, listening to the classical music that played softly through the house. Her eyelids were growing heavy, and she allowed herself to finally relax. 

 


 

Opening her eyes, she blinked softly in the darkness. Joan didn’t know how long she’d slept for, and she turned her head to look at the time. As she did so, she almost gasped when she saw Vera sound asleep next to her. She was close to Joan with her knees bent, her hand close to Joan’s on the pillow. 

She smiled tenderly as Vera slept, watching her in ways she wasn’t able to at the prison. In her home, Vera didn’t have all the stress and strain of the day on her face, and she could sleep through the night if she wanted, without the fear of others finding out. Joan lifted her hand to gently run her fingers through Vera’s hair, and rested her hand on her hip, gently stroking the skin under her shirt. She loved the softness of her skin, the intimacy they enjoyed in prison as she explored her body. And now, she was here all to herself. Joan reached up to cup her breast, gently tweaking the nipple. Vera sighed softly, and moved closer to Joan. She caressed her breast again and moved her hand to wrap around her waist. She tried as best she could to hold her with her large belly, and this time Vera blinked slowly and looked up at her.

“Hi,” she said groggily. 

“Hello, Vera,” Joan whispered, looking into her eyes.

It was hard to see in the darkness, but Joan’s eyes had already adjusted to the dark outlines of Vera’s face. They didn’t say anything for a few seconds, and Joan slowly rubbed her hip. “Is this too real for you now?” She asked quietly.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, now that I’m out of Wentworth. You’re in my house, in my bed with me. It’s just us, and no one to interrupt us, and no one to hide our relationship from.”

“It is a little surreal but I meant what I said not too long ago. I’ll always be here for you, no matter what happens.”

Joan was half expecting Vera to say she was done, that she no longer wanted to be involved with her. Vera walked away from her once before, and she was happy that she wasn’t doing that again. 

“I do care. I always have, and I always will,” Joan said, her voice shaky with emotion as she squeezed Vera’s hand. It was the closest she could get to saying she loved her, and she relaxed when Vera gently kissed her lips.

“I know. Me too.”

Chapter Text

Joan rolled over in bed, trying to find a more comfortable position. As the days went by she was desperate to get this child out of her. She was very uncomfortable at times, and it was even worse when she had to go from sitting to standing. 

Vera brought her a glass of water which she took gratefully. Joan slowly moved into a sitting position. “Thank you.”

“The doctor said you really need to take it easy.”

Joan rolled her eyes. “Easier said than done.” She grimaced, feeling the dull ache in her back.

“Does your back hurt?”

“Yes… my lower back.”

“Do you want me to massage it again?” Vera asked gently.

Joan nodded, and laid back onto her side. She sighed as Vera’s warm hands massaged along her back. Closing her eyes, she felt her body slowly relaxing under Vera’s touch.

“Does that feel nice?”

“Yes, it helps.” She moaned softly as Vera’s fingers kneaded a particular spot. 

“Is there any way we can induce this labor?”

Vera frowned. “I mean, I guess if they recommend it, but I think we’re going right on schedule. I just wish you would get a C-section.”

“I’ve told you, I want to have this baby naturally. I don’t feel comfortable having surgery. I’m strong, and I should be able to do this like every other woman in history.”

“Joan, you’ve had a lot more stress this year, and with your age I just think it would be safer.”

“You don’t understand,” Joan grumbled.

“Maybe I don’t, but I’m just thinking of what’s best for you and the baby.” 

Joan lifted her hand to her stomach. “I know, but I just feel I want to try this without the C-section.” 

“Okay… would it feel better if I gave you a bath?”

Joan’s lips twitched. “Maybe.”



Joan sat back in the tub, and while she would have loved Vera to join her, they decided it was easier for Joan to get out this way. Vera was so afraid of her accidentally slipping and falling.

She sighed in pleasure as Vera gently ran her hands through her hair. “You really didn’t have to wash my hair too,” she said quietly.

“I know, but you find it relaxing,” Vera said, smiling.

“That’s true. Carry on.” She closed her eyes when Vera poured water over her head. Soft lips kissed her neck and she smiled. 

“Are you hungry?” 

“Vera, I’m always hungry these days. I’m surprised you even have to ask at this point.”

“What are you in the mood for?”

“You know what I’d really like that I haven’t had in a very long time: fish and chips. Oh, and with malt vinegar. Wait… actually, maybe not since you’re called Vinegar Tits at the prison.” Joan bit her lip, trying to stop herself from smiling.

Vera inhaled sharply. “If you really want fish and chips I’ll get it for you, including malt vinegar. But if you call me Vinegar Tits again, you won’t ever see my tits anymore.” 

Joan tried to keep a straight face. “You have my word. I just hope you won’t douse yourself in it again,” she said, and started to laugh. 

“Joan! For God’s sake! It’s not funny!”

“You’re right… it’s not. Especially not when I found you in Medical later, with that very distinct smell.”

“That’s it! I’m going home!” 

Joan grabbed her hand. “Don’t go home, not this time, Vera. Please… I was just teasing.”

Vera rolled her eyes. “Strange sense of humor you have. I’ll let it go this time to you being weird and pregnant. It’s really odd for you to even joke like that. Are you feeling okay?”

She helped her out of the tub and wrapped a towel around Joan. She didn’t get an answer before Joan leaned down to kiss her. 

“I’m feeling fine,” she whispered and smiled fondly.



As the two women ate, Joan felt somewhat out of sorts. She wasn’t sure what got into her earlier. A sudden playful mood and all she wanted was to hold Vera and kiss her. She had such strong feelings of tenderness towards her that she wanted to tell her how she felt. Emotions be damned, even if it was a mistake.

“Joan, are you all right?”

“Hmm? Yes, I… I… uh, we’ve spent quite some time together and I’ve grown to really appreciate all you’ve done for me and the baby. It’s not easy for me to say this but I want to tell you that… I--”

“It’s okay, Joan. I knew that sooner or later you’d want time alone. I’m glad I was here for you too.”

Joan slowly shook her head, and placed her hand over Vera’s. A reminder of that fateful dinner long ago. She swallowed and licked her lips, feeling her heart pounding with anxiety. “Vera, that’s not what I wanted to say. I’ve developed some… uh, it’s been such a long time since I’ve said this but I… I love you,” she said simply.

Vera’s eyes widened and she dropped the chip in her hand. “Joan, that makes me so -- oh, my God I think your water just broke!”

Joan stared at her. “So that’s what that is… that feeling. Yes, then yes it broke. My water just broke.”

“Let’s get your things and head to the hospital.”

Joan suddenly felt like she was outside of her body. She stood up and knew it happened but it was still a very surreal feeling. This meant the baby was coming. She was going into labor. 

“Vera…”

“Joan, it’ll be okay. I have your things and we’ll be on our way.”

“You’ll stay with me?” She asked, unsure of what the answer would be.

Vera’s eyes softened. She took Joan’s hand and squeezed it. “Of course I will. You won’t be alone, I promise you.” 



Joan was extremely tired. Contractions had been going for a while and she couldn’t remember if she was dilated enough. She panted, and she was in so much pain that she just wanted it to be over. Vera held her hand, and she looked into her eyes.

“I don’t know why I went through with this. I’ve never felt this level of pain before. I don’t think I can do this, Vera. What was I thinking?” She cried, the pain and exhaustion beginning to overwhelm her.

Vera stroked her forehead, wiping the sweat from her hairline. “Joan, you’re one of the strongest women I know. You can do this, do you hear me? And once this is all over, you’ll have a beautiful baby girl.”

Joan nodded, squeezing Vera’s hand harder. Vera made a grimace and then smiled at her. “You’re doing just fine.”

“It’s been too long… something has to be wrong,” she said weakly. Her doctor motioned Vera to the corner, and Joan couldn’t tell what was being said since they were far away.

Vera came back and held her hand. “Everything is going to be all right.”

“What’s going on?”

Her doctor slowly came into view. “Hi Joan. You’ve been doing very well, but for the safety of you and your baby, we need to do an emergency C-section.” 

“No, I don’t want to have one. I can have this baby.”

“Joan, your labor isn’t progressing as it should. You’re not dilated enough, and it’s been too long for you to safely deliver this baby naturally. We have to do an emergency C-section.” 

“Please,” Vera whispered. 

Joan nodded, and turned to Vera. “If anything happens, you’ll take care of her.”

“Joan nothing is—”

“Promise me, Vera.”

Vera’s breath hitched. “I promise.” She leaned down to kiss Joan’s cheek and whispered, “I love you too.”

Everything seemed to slow down for her, even though she knew that the doctor and nurses were moving quickly. She was given local anesthesia, which made it a little bit easier to be aware of what was going on. 

She was vaguely aware of a pulling sensation, and it wasn’t long before she saw the doctor holding a small baby. 

“Is she okay?” She asked anxiously. 

“You’ve given birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl.”

She felt tears in her eyes. “Can I see her?”

Her baby was gently handed to her. She stared in wonder at the small child, and lifted her hand to stroke her cheek. She had a very small patch of dark brown hair. 

“Hello little one,” she, and smiled when the baby wrapped her hand around Joan’s finger. A tear ran down her cheek as she kissed the baby’s forehead. She was suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of fierce love and protection. 

“She’s so beautiful, Vera.” Another tear escaped and she stroked her baby’s cheek. 

“Yes, she is.” Vera stroked Joan’s hair. “Everything turned out fine, just like I told you.”

“I’m so glad you’re here with me and… Chloe.”

Vera smiled and kissed her forehead. “Me too.”

Joan smiled lovingly at Chloe. “My daughter,” she whispered.

Chapter Text

Joan held her daughter close to her and kissed her head. She’d lost sleep in the last few weeks and she was wondering how anyone could survive motherhood. She longed for sleep and often found herself waking up to see if the baby was still breathing. She’d breathe a sigh of relief when she saw she was fine, watching her sleep for a while until she was ready to wake.

She didn’t remember her mother for she died when Joan was too young. Some days she didn’t know what to do, but she supposed maternal instinct took over. She worried about so many different things now, and it was a testament to Vera’s patience that she put up with her.

Vera had been so helpful and encouraging during the last month, even when Joan sometimes pushed her away. She wasn’t sure why, but she felt a need to bond with her child without someone else there. She knew Vera was a little hurt by it, but she respected her wishes. 

These new feelings of love accompanied by anxiety were enough to make her question her sanity at times. But then she’d look at her in wonder, and Chloe would look right back at her and give her a little smile. Joan would feel the most intense emotions then, and knew she’d walk through fire for her child.

As she held her, she caressed her head and found it soothed her child in the same way it soothed Shayne as a baby. She smiled gently as Chloe slowly closed her eyes. 

The doorbell rang and she grit her teeth. If that woke her up, she’d kill the person at the door. She slowly stood up and carefully held her daughter. If she moved just right, Chloe would stay asleep in her arms. 

Gently rubbing her baby’s back, she slowly opened the door. “Vera, she just went to sleep,” she whispered.

“I’m sorry, I just wanted to drop off these books you wanted,” Vera whispered back.

Joan motioned for her to follow her inside, and slowly sat down on the couch. “Thank you, I appreciate it.”

Vera smiled and looked at Chloe. “She’s looking more like you every day,” she whispered.

“It’s better than the alternative,” she whispered. “But I’d love her no matter what, I’m just glad that she looks more like me.”

Vera held her hand. “He hasn’t tried to contact you has he?”

“No, he hasn’t. He wouldn’t dare to.”

“That’s good. I worry about you sometimes. Are you doing all right?” 

Joan looked at her. “Yes, I’m fine.” She missed Vera a lot, and sometimes didn’t know why she kept shutting her out. 

“I was wondering, would you like to come over for dinner tonight?” Vera asked this question carefully and knew it was because she turned her down before.

“It’s no pressure if you’re not able to. I understand,” she said, but Joan could hear the slight quiver in her voice. 

She slowly stood up and carried Chloe over to a bassinet in her living room. Carefully laying her down, she smiled as she continued to sleep.

“Vera,” she said quietly, sitting down next to her again. “I’ve missed you. I know it’s been confusing. I’ve felt very strange in the last few weeks, and I’m not sure why. I just have all this anxiety. I worry about what will happen to her, and to you. I worry about our future. And then I feel so happy that I want to call you all the time to tell you about something she did.”

Vera nodded. “I know this has been an adjustment for you. I’m always here for you and Chloe, I love you. Do you still love me?” Vera asked quietly.

Joan sighed and cupped her cheek. “I love you so much, please know that. I hate to feel vulnerable. It goes against everything I’ve been taught. I look at her, and the love I feel for her is so strong that it scares me. I’ve never felt anything like it. Sometimes... I have nightmares that my father takes her away. Is that stupid?”

“No, it’s not stupid. He’s done a lot of damage to you. He’s not here. You and Chloe will be fine. We’ll all be fine,” Vera said and gently enfolded her into a hug. Joan relaxed and allowed herself to be held. 

She turned her head to kiss Vera, missing the feel of her soft lips. “I’m sorry I’ve pushed you away. It wasn’t fair to you.”

Vera stroked her hair, and looked into her eyes. “It’s okay, don’t worry about it. Have you ever... um, given thought to seeing a therapist again?”

Joan narrowed her eyes. “Why do you ask?”

Vera rubbed her back. “I just think it might help you, if you ever felt the need to go again.”

Joan had thought about possibly going back to therapy, not with Bridget of course, but with another therapist. She was just surprised that Vera even suggested it. She relaxed and nodded slowly. “I might consider it again. I think it would help me in this... new journey. I want to be a good mother to her.”

Vera smiled. “You've come a long way to think about it, and you are a good mother.”

Joan nodded, and smiled sheepishly. “Let's not think about it right now.” She held her tightly, and kissed her again. She slowly caressed her body, her lips now lowering to her neck.

“I’ve missed you so much,” she whispered. Vera kissed her again, more passionately and held her face in her hands.

“I love you. Come over and I’ll make you dinner, and you’ll see just how much I missed you,” she winked.

 


 

Five years later…

 

“Okay young lady, time for bed,” Joan said and swooped her up. She carried her little girl into her bedroom and tucked her in.

“Tell me a story Mama,” she pleaded.

Joan settled down next to her daughter and wrapped her arm around her. “Wouldn’t you rather me read you a story?”

“No, you tell it. Pleeeeeease.” Joan smiled, and held her close.

“Did I ever tell you about how Mummy and I met?”

“No, you didn’t! Tell me!”

“It’s a little scary though,” she said, smirking.

“No, please tell me Mama!”

“Well, it all started when your Mum first spoke to me at Wentworth, and I became her mentor. Kind of like her teacher.” Her daughter listened to her tell the story of how they met, and of course she left out many details to make it more suitable for a young child. 

Vera stopped near the door and smiled as she watched them. She slowly walked in, and said, “And that’s when she said to me, ‘I’ll be coming for that shiny little crown.’”

Joan smiled and watched Vera fondly. Chloe didn’t take long to fall asleep, and she kissed her forehead. “Goodnight sweetheart,” she whispered before turning out the light.

She smiled lovingly as her daughter slept, closing the door quietly. Wrapping her arm around Vera’s waist, they walked together down the hall of their home.

“I do hope you gave her the children’s version of how we met,” Vera said, smirking.

“Oh, of course, she needn’t know just how bad you were.”

“Me? I think you forgot just how bad you were back then.”

“I haven’t forgotten…” Joan said, and pulled Vera back into their bedroom. “I’ll be coming again for that shiny little crown,” she said, gently lowering Vera onto their bed.

Vera kissed her passionately, her mouth and hands caressing her skin. “Oh, I’ve missed you, Governor.

Joan kissed her deeply, lowering her hand to her breast. She sucked her neck, kissing across her collarbone. She held her close and kissed her shoulders, gently biting where the gold crown would be on Vera’s shoulder. “And don’t you ever forget it.”


“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” - Maya Angelou