Fandom: Thomas And Friends (In this story, any character’s present are in a humanized state.)
Fan-fiction: Deviating from The Norm - Chapter 1: Not Part of The Plan
Warning: Yaoi and Trans-MPreg. Please read Deviation before you begin reading this fan-fiction for context and continuity. There is a link to this fan-fic in the description below.
“Eddie, babe?” While they were coasting down the M56, James took his hand off the gearstick and rested it on Edward’s leg. He was surprised Edward didn’t flinch, given how sensitive he’d claimed to be these past few months. Instead, Edward tensed, the sound of James’ concern aggravating him for some reason, probably because he knew that James was going to ask him if there was anything he could do to help, but he was too exhausted to repeat the same answer and get the same response back. The touch almost caused him to snap at him but he was too reasonable for that; Baby-brain wouldn’t take away the entirety of his rational thought.
“I can’t remember the last time you went this fast,” Edward latched onto the first thing that popped into his head and changed the subject.
James didn’t even think to make an innuendo. He took the statement literally, “Really? I do.” And he did, and when he recalled that moment, those circumstances, a dampness struck him that made him feel like he was carrying twins for a moment. He hoped Edward understood exactly what moment he was referring to and it made him feel the same way, reminding him of the gravity of the situation, of how important it was that they actually got a baby (or babies) at the end of it all and how much more a hospital increased those chances. Although, that moment gave evidence to the contrary.
A year earlier:
“Oi, Eddie, wait for me!” James called out but it proved to be fruitless. He sped up his action of pressing the lock button on the car keys, also to no avail.
“After you were speeding down that motorway, I think I can afford to run ahead,” Edward called back, though he did slow down, turn around and proceed to walk backwards, a spring in every step, every movement. The glee on his face only increased when he saw James’ face of irritation waiting for the lights on the back of the car to flash.
“Eddie, the car isn’t locking!” He moaned.
“James, use the bloody key!” Edward mimicked his tone.
“Well, what else would I use?”
“No, put the key in the lock.”
“Why should I have to do that when it should lock when I press the button?” James slammed the car key into the lock and turned it vigorously.
Edward finally paused to give James a chance to catch-up and relayed his excitement to his hands, to which he proceeded to fidget and rub them together, though it wasn’t cold outside, “James, if you’re that bone-idle, then leave it. Come on.”
“Eddie, we have blown three and a half thousand on this baby before we’ve even brought it home. We can’t afford to have the car stolen,” James re-joined Edward, slipping his arm round his waist. He could feel the excitement and vibrancy in his step. It’s not that James wasn’t excited to meet their baby, but the practical things still tugged on his consciousness, “We’re lucky Molly didn’t ask for any support fees either.”
“I can’t believe she did it for nothing, all of that,” Edward marvelled, though he struggled to sound sympathetic in his excitement, especially as they had just rocked up to the entrance to the Liverpool Women’s Hospital. A sign for the maternity ward made him tug on James’ hand. Even he was getting a little giddy.
“Then again, she has got her billionaire hubby paying her rent. How many houses do they own on the South Coast of bloody France or is it just the couple of yachts or is it both?”
“I’ll tell you what: I wouldn’t mind being a pound behind them… Or a Euro behind, whatever.”
Spotting the Maternity Reception, Edward sped ahead once again, slipping out of James’ grasp. He didn’t follow straight away, distracted by passing couple with their new-born tucked into a baby carrier, reminding him that he hadn’t brought theirs inside. Then again, Edward would probably insist on carrying the child to establish a connection, aside from the fact that there was no way they would get the carrier to convert back into a car seat within a reasonable amount of time.
“Hello! I take it you’re not patients,” A lady with an apparent willingness to help beamed at them from the desk, also getting a buzz from their elation.
“I don’t think so unless there’s something Edward isn’t telling me,” James quipped, to which Edward quickly responded.
“Yes, I need some anti-depressants because I have to live with this conceited nightmare,” He gestured towards James.
“Excuse me, ‘nothing wrong with being confident.”
The receptionist giggled at their banter, “Well, unfortunately, I can’t give you a prescription for that but is there anything I can help you with?”
“Oh, yes! Sorry. We’re looking for Molly, Molly Stratford. She gave birth yesterday, late,” Edward kept rattling off specific details, as if they would help the receptionist find her quicker.
She made polite conversation as she studied her desktop, “So, are you friends of hers, family…?” The couple turned to face each other, expecting the other to clarify. Edward was a little timid to reveal their situation. Though surrogacy wasn’t unheard of in this day and age, who the child was going to sometimes provoked people to raise a couple of irrelevant issues to which Edward would’ve been quick to dismiss. He would defend him and James and their parenting capabilities until he was blue in the face but not here. He didn’t think it was place for such a debate.
James cut through the ‘ums’ and ahs’, “It’s complicated.”
The Receptionist chuckled, “This new computer system is complicated. I’ve seen all kinds of situations stagger through that door, some begging for an epidural and some with enough balloons to replenish our helium supplies. Go on, humor me.” Her tone was welcoming, understanding but before Edward could unload with ease, her face lit up as she came across Molly’s room number, as well as other things that made her draw her own conclusions, “Oh my goodness, is she your surrogate?” She looked up at them both with a face strikingly similar to those of some of their house mates when they told them of their wishes, with a gaping smile and buzzing, wide eyes. Edward and James turned to each other and mimicked her expression, getting a little closer to having that wish granted. “Oh my-. You’ve not met your baby yet, have you? Gosh, I’m sorry I kept you!” She scribbled the room number on a sticky note and thrust it across the counter to them, “She’s in zero zero seven. I’m sure you’ll find it, the signs are pretty good.”
Edward butt in to calm her down, “Thank you! Thank you so much.” He took James’ hand, not noticing that he was already engrossed in the signs. Her enthusiasm only enthralled them more.
“You’re very welcome! And, congratulations,” She called, her day a little brighter. She almost had the patience to face the irrational sixteen year old in zero zero eight.
Edward and James darted through the ward. It seemed like they knew the way almost instinctively, which is what they’d both rather believe, but the signs were very good. They eventually came to a point where they could see a door with the correct room number. They slowed themselves down for that final stretch while their minds became preoccupied with the possibilities of what lay beyond that door. Both were a little anxious, having not had the full benefit of nine months’ worth of bonding with the baby as other parents may have had. How would the baby interact with them? Would they be uncomfortable? Would they prefer being in Molly’s arms? Though some would argue that all babies look very much the same, James began to wonder about their child’s appearance. Who would inherit what from whom? Meanwhile, Edward continued to worry about more significant things.
They passed the door of a room, containing a laboring woman. They didn’t acknowledge her presence at first, but a moan, emanating from the room, suddenly transformed in to a cry for salvation. The embedded hostility startled James a little, but it truly rattled Edward. To him, it sounded just like Molly. He felt a twang in his abdomen and bit his lip while clenching his fist gradually, with James’ hand trapped inside. It didn’t hurt but James sensed the pressure and on Edward’s face, he saw a worry, eating away at his psyche.
“Woah. Eddie, what’s the matter?” His partner continued to crush his lip in aggravation from James’ inquisition. He nodded his head towards the door from which the scream came from. A bit too subtle for James, “What? Babe, just tell me.”
“That pain!” Edward hissed, “She went through that, James.”
“Edward,” James began, sternly, suddenly, “We’ve talked about this,” He said, pausing, to see whether he need to reaffirm what had been said.
“No, I know but…” Edward also hesitated. He now wished that he hadn’t spoken out, it having dispelled James’ excitement.
“Because she volunteered!”
“She wouldn’t have had to-.”
“Eddie, if you’re feeling guilty, just blame me, alright? I wouldn’t stick it in you, at the end of the day,” James shrugged. He too then realized both of their moods had shifted, far from what he wanted their child to be introduced to, “Babe, they’ll still be your baby,” He rested his hands on Edward’s shoulders and popped a kiss on his forehead, “No matter whose vagina they came from.”
A familiar, foreign voice, full of pep, addressed James, out of sight, “I know that cockney, vulgar tongue!”
“And I know exactly what you’re saying, even with that accent,” The banter ricocheted, “So, they haven’t deported you, yet?” James quipped.
“Nope, they just made me head of the department,” He patted James on the back, smirking under the assumption that he’d won that one.
Edward preferred a different, more polite style of greeting, having not seen the small man for a while and certainly not in his black and red-striped uniform, provided evidence for his promotion, “Victor? Wow!” He congratulated, with a handshake.
“Nice to see you, Edward,” Victor pulled him in for a friendly hug, as affectionate as he was, “You both look well. I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be in here, or are… you…?” His joke faded like laughter when he became occupied with the two old acquaintances holding each other’s hands.
“We’ve already had the ‘Who’s expecting?’ joke from the receptionist,” James clarified, not he was tired of it; it made him think gleefully of their future parenthood.
Victor noticed the silence. He didn’t know whether it was appropriate but he spoke his mind. It was all he could think to say, “What’s this?” He gestured towards their hands, sounding inquisitive
“We’re together,” James proclaimed, proudly. He didn’t even need to look to Edward for clarification for Victor’s sake. His slightly smaller partner had already rested his head on his shoulder, their hands still clasped together.
“Oh my gosh, really?” Victor spluttered, his wide-open eyes darting between the two of them.
“Don’t sound so surprised,” Edward gave him a little nudge. He knew he wasn’t offended by their relationship but still.
“No! I’m sorry!” Victor bowed his head, chuckling to himself,” It’s just, James, definitely; we all knew you were gay. But Edward, I never would have…” He paused, carefully studying their facial expressions to make sure he hadn’t offended them with his somewhat closed-minded comment. When they both shrugged, chuckling themselves, he smiled, “Well, congratulations! But what are you doing here? Is there something I can help you with?”
“I think we’re alright, Victor.”
“We here to see Molly, but we’ve found her okay,” James smiled.
Victor’s expression flipped again. He looked almost as startled as he did after their previous announcement, “No… She’s…She’s your surrogate?” He earned a hasty nod in response from the couple, who still hadn’t met their child, “Wow! Not that it surprises me now but, wow, you two made one good looking kid.”
“Ooo…” James nudged Edward, with a sly grin.
“Oh! No, you still haven’t met h-. Nope, I won’t spoil the gender!” Victor waved his hands apologetically, “You guys, go ahead. I’m sorry I kept you. Congratulations.” He rushed off but not before giving Edward a farewell tap on the shoulder.
“Bye!” The couple said in unison, laughing at their synchronisation.
No more distractions could keep them from their future. Now, at the door to Molly’s hospital room, James grabbed the handle hastily, only to have Edward come between them to knock first. In true Edward fashion, sighed James. After the knock, nothing but silence echoed from the room. Edward knocked again, deciding to accompany it, “Molly, it’s only us.” He called cheerfully. After a brief pause, there came a reply, albeit a very quiet one. James pushed the door handle down but let Edward push the door and enter first.
Of course, the little bundle in Molly’s arms was one of the first things they noticed in the room.
Of course, it was all James was really interested in at that moment, “Hello,” He said softly, as to not alarm whoever lay concealed in the blankets Molly had hold of.
Edward tried to ignore the bundle. He felt rude not to ask how Molly was first, “Hey Mol.” He waited for James to sit on the only chair, as was in his nature. As in James’s nature, he took the chair, but offered Edward his lap in return, which was gratefully accepted.
“Hi guys,” Molly finally responded, a little louder than before, but still, her tone emanated her mood, as did her cold, drained appearance. She didn’t even have to energy to look at them, it seemed.
“How are you feeling?” Edward asked politely, though he wasn’t sure that she wanted to talk about the past 24 hours.
“Well, you know? I’ve just given birth; terrible,” She smiled weakly.
Edward chuckled, thinking she was trying to lighten the mood. He didn’t hear James respond, and when he looked at him, saw that he was totally engrossed in the new-born Molly held, a little smile on his face. Edward knew that once they both saw the child, the focus would be taken off Molly. It didn’t feel right for him. He gave James a little nudge, encouraging him to be a bit more polite.
James slowed dragged his gaze away from the baby. He shrugged discretely at Edward. His partner sighed and flicked his head towards Molly. James read the gesture a little differently, “So, who’s this then, Mol?” He gestured towards the baby, keeping hold of Edward and leaning in, to get a better look at their child. Edward rolled his eyes.
“You have a…” She looked up, finally. Her eyes widened at her words. She rephrased, “It’s a little girl.”
“Oh my god,” James gasped, covering his mouth. He pulled Edward a little closer giving him an opportunity to receive a kiss on the head.
Edward giggled, he could feel James’ leg jig with excitement, “You wanted a girl, didn’t you?”
“Mm-hm,” James replied a little shakily. He never suspected he’d be welling up, he never did this when he watched ‘One Born Every Minute ‘ with Edward, in the months leading up to this moment.
Edward was a little sore that Molly hadn’t even offered to let them hold her yet, given James was now borderline sobbing. It only made him want to hold her more. Now, he rushed things, “Molly, do you think we could…?” He held his arms out to her, hoping she gathered what he meant.
She looked down at the little girl, but didn’t look confused. She hesitated but looked up with a smile, which Edward felt was somewhat fake, “Of course, yeah.” She shifted her arms towards the couple, revealing more and more of the child the closer she got until James spluttered, erupting into a sob.
She was so much like Edward; so beautiful. She had such a sweet face. In all honestly, James was expecting her to look like a potato. My god, was he overwhelmed with how wrong he was in that assumption. His mind overflowed with his plans and intentions, the excitement too much for him to contain. How he’d shower her in everything he couldn’t give to even Edward. Though, he could support Edward’s career by going to see him when he performed in shows, he couldn’t do much beyond that. Edward was very independent in the ways that James wished he could help with. He so looked forward to the years they all had together, seeing Edward as enthralled as he was to have the child they’d always wanted.
Edward would have comforted James before attending to their child, who was clearly content in the arms of Molly, having spent 9 months in astoundingly close contact with her. However, he couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling from staring at her smile. Again, though the child wasn’t distressed, he took her from Molly swiftly but gently. He sank into James arms, now relaxed with their little girl in his grasp. He could finally admire her, in all her innocence and potential.
“She looks like you, doesn’t she?” James dried his eyes, reaching out to touch their daughters head. She looked as good as she felt, her skin so pure, “Definitely got your nose.”
“Poor thing,” Edward smiled, before popping a light kiss on her nose. She emanated a relaxed moan, making Edward shiver a little, giddy from what he felt was a connection. He felt more and more reassured that she knew who her parents were instinctively, “She’s got your eyes, I think,” Edward said, shakily, getting a little teary eyed himself.
“Really?” James quickly directed his attention back to the new born, specifically her now opened eyes. They were drearily focused on Edward, studying him. James tried to get her attention, “Hello gorgeous,” He spoke softly. She squirmed a little, which James assumed was so she could get a better look at who just addressed her. But, she lay in unfamiliar arms. Though quite comfortable and quite warm, it made her apprehensive. She didn’t like this change, almost as much as she disliked leaving that equally warm space she’d been in for 9 months. She shivered a little, building up a sob, putting James on edge, “No, it’s alright,” He put his other arm around Edward’s which held their little girl, hoping to reassure her, maybe bond with her.
Edward took a quick glance at Molly, whose gaze was fixated on the baby; she seemed to notice that the child was uncomfortable. But, of course, she would be, Edward bit his lip. The girl had never met them before. It would take time. Molly looked like she was just going to snatch the child away and give up on them. It infuriated Edward to think that that’s what may be in her head. He dove right in, establishing who were truly this child’s parents, “It’s alright, Millie.”
James nudged him, “You like my name?” He smirked, feeling pleased with himself.
“It suits her, doesn’t it?”
“It does,” Molly finally spoke up, with a genuine smile this time. Edward smiled back, approving of her comment, albeit, a little out of guilt, “It’s a lovely name.”
“Cheers,” James jumped in, as quick as he turned back to Millie. He mimicked her newly formed scowl.
“I don’t think she likes it, “ Edward teased, regaining his gentleness when she finally broke out into tears, “Oh…shh.”
“She’s probably hungry,” Molly reassured, gesturing for Edward to hand-over Millie, to which he did, more willingly than he would have done 3 minutes ago. “She’s been asleep most of the day, so…” She casually undid her hospital gown, the sound of the clips appearing to sooth Millie, as her cries became whimpers. When she was settled and feeding, Molly slumped back unto the many pillows propping her up. The angle of her torso caused her parted gown to slip a little, revealing her other breast slightly. Edward only noticed when he felt James’ leg shift firmly beneath him, so he was no longer facing the tit. He took a sharp breath in, covering his mouth, cringing at the sight of it. Edward spluttered in a laugh at his irrationality. Molly didn’t take it that lightly, “James, I’ve got to feed her, for god’s sake-.”
“No, Mol’, don’t take it personally,” Edward jumped in, stifling his laughter, “He’s as bent as a nine bob note. He hates tits.”
“Ewgh,” James lurched at the sound of the word, putting an image in his head, “I can’t stand ‘em. I hate the female body,” He accentuated the word ‘hate.’ It was so over-exaggerated one would doubt his sincerity.
“Wow, I must make a pretty good man, then,” Edward teased, nudging him for a compliment.
James, finally having taken his hand away from his face, nuzzled Edward’s chin, “The best man, ever,” He said, sloppily but sweetly, making Molly chuckle, halfheartedly. Her lack of enthusiasm for their chemistry rattled James a little, rendering his tone a little blunt, “So, Mol’, have you signed the papers?”
The pause took its toll on them all, because they all knew that the question would need to be answered but it was the answer that troubled them.
Finally, Molly responded, “No,” with a drone, not serious in the slightest, as if she had forgotten to do so rather than intentionally avoiding it. James bit his lip at her infantile response, receiving a sharp nudge from Edward, expected, really, though James didn’t see that he was being unreasonable. They were the papers that would enable him and Edward to actually take the child – Millie, their little girl – that they had waited for, for so long, home. It was unreasonable, the way that Molly treated this case.
Edward stepped in, as open-minded as ever, “Why? Is there something you don’t understand? There are a lot of academic words in there that one wouldn’t use in normal conversation, so they wouldn’t,” He mimicked such a way of speaking, but no one seemed to enjoy his mockery. In fact, it seemed to disgust Molly. He thought that he’d maybe insulted her intelligence, but her guilty expression made him revoke his remorse. Molly opened her mouth to speak but her slow start gave Edward the chance to blockade her words in her mouth, “Molly?” He inquired coldly, to give her a chance to change her words; he knew what was coming.
James could feel Edward shivering, in small but firm bursts. He saw his lips tucked in, held together by his teeth. He didn’t know what he was trying to keep in. He was so blissfully unaware of everything for a brief moment in which Molly attempted to salvage herself to tell them what she had planned with some semblance of order and understanding.
She figured that Edward knew, so she didn’t say. She didn’t want to say. She only justified, “I thought I could do it. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think I could do it. But…But you saw how quickly you fell in love with her – your beautiful girl – when you first saw her and I couldn’t. I can’t. I can’t let her go.”
Edward felt James thrust himself off the seat, pushing him off his lap, but that certainly wasn’t what made him queasy. He hobbled over to a surgical waste bin. The shaking was throwing him in every direction. He didn’t know what to do. This was far from what he had prepared for. He was angry, he was furious. There’s was no upset. There was no helplessness yet. James would fight this corner.
Molly tried to keep an eye on Edward, that she may call a nurse if he needed it. But James loomed over her like a shadow, his sudden movements keeping her attention focused on him.
“You didn’t feel that way when she was inside you,” He stated, every consonant fired like machine gun.
“It’s different, holding her,” She replied quickly, “She…” Molly figured that it would be best not to speak for a child that could not speak for itself, “I feel a bond, now that I can see her, feel her. She knows who I am.”
“She’ll get to know us, Mol.” He gripped the railing of Molly’s hospital bed with both hands, shuffling them like he was revving a motorbike.
“It’s not about her, it’s about me.”
“And what about us?” James gestured blindly towards where he thought his other half was. He hadn’t comprehended that Edward had his head hanging over the bin.
“I’m sorry, I really am-.”
“Don’t you dare!” James barked with a ferocity that transmitted into his hands as he shook her bed. His next words were nigh on silent but deadly, “If you were sorry, you would give us our baby, that we’ve waited for. That’s all we want. She’s made us so happy and we’ve not even known her like, um…” He blubbered through his coherent thoughts.
When he was finished, Molly spoke up for her side, “And what about what I want? What makes me happy?” She lifted Millie slightly.
“So, someone has to lose,” Edward finally found the calmness to form a clean sentence, despite him still shaking. Despite Molly and Edward’s reason with morals, James saw only the opposing side to be in the wrong; the baby was his and Edward’s, it had their genes.
“Don’t put it like that, Edward. You would still be able to visit her-.”
“It’s not the same though, is it? Because it wouldn’t be the same if we took her home and said that you could visit, would it?” Edward hissed, making Molly succumb to the disdain of her decision.
She offered what she deemed to be suitable consolidation, though her solemn tone suggested that she knew it wasn’t enough, “I know what you had to get through to get Millie here. I know it was expensive but I will pay the I.V.F. and I-.”
“I don’t want…” James’ timer reached zero, “...your fucking money! I want our baby!”
Molly swiftly clicked a button beside her bed without making eye contact with it. A red one surely wasn’t a good sign. Edward wasn’t prepared to relay the events to a security team to justify their actions, “James,” The couple finally turned to face each other. The difference in their skin tones would be enough to make anyone feel queasy themselves. James’ cheeks were quite pink, but Edward was as blank as a canvas. James only turned a deeper shade of red when he saw no tears on Edward’s face. He thought he didn’t care. “We have to go.”
“No. We stay, and we fight!”
James’ over-exaggeration just rattled Edward even more than his lack of logic at times, “With what, James? She’s got the law on her side, for god’s sake! They don’t care how you feel. They don’t even care how I feel; I didn’t give birth to the thing…” In all fairness, his aggravation clouded his limits, “…because you wouldn’t let me.”
There was nothing James could say to defend himself. He couldn’t find anything to say at all. He skulked out of the room, avoiding acceptance as usual.
The Present Day:
Looking back on it, at the time, it seemed so hard for James to admit fault. Of course, the animosity had been resolved since then. Evidently, seen as Edward was pregnant and the prospect of him giving birth expected to come within 48 hours, by James’s estimate. It would be hard enough to swallow for those who don’t truly know Edward, but even James never intended for him to be in this situation. He’d never seen his partner in pain. He didn’t want to, but it was a certainty. Him watching re-runs of ‘One Born Every Minute’ reinforced the eventuality of the screaming, the crying, despite Edward’s reassurance of him having a high-pain threshold, and the varied birth videos they’d watched in between, of some women who didn’t even flinch during contractions. He was blinded by fear and what he felt was a lack of preparation for this moment. I mean, they would’ve been planning Millie’s second birthday had plans not been torn up and rearranged.
“But, it doesn’t matter. It’s worth it; we’re gonna have babies by the end of this,” He nodded through his statement.
“Absolutely,” Edward concurred, “Without a doubt. They’re here,” He placed James’ free hand on his abdomen, earning a satisfied smile, reassuring him to push on, “They’re not going anywhere, unless I give birth. So, why don’t we head back home and give birth there? Then, there’s definitely no chance of a mix up afterwards.” He said with glee, in the hopes of stirring James’ conscience. There was only a small shake of the head. Edward frowned, “Also, I can be in the most compromising position I’ve ever been in, in the comfort of my own home, in my own bed, with the midwife that’s been looking at my vagina for weeks now as opposed to giving birth in a room full of strangers.”
“Eddie, you can’t give birth without contractions and at the moment, you’re not having any.”
“Then, we go home and wait!”
“We can’t. Your waters have already broken and you’re prone to infection. The hospital’s the safest place. That’s what Hiro said, and you clearly trust his judgement. It’s sterile,” James’ accentuated each word, as if he was sick of saying it. Edward was just as sick of hearing it, “Babe, I’m all for the home birth. I don’t wanna make you feel uncomfortable but I don’t want to put you or the babies in danger and it’s not safe.”
“I know,” Edward rubbed his eyes, exhausted from the repetition, but not too tired that he didn’t feel the need to moan about it, “But it’s not fair.”
“I know it’s not babe,” James fondled the bump with thumb, “But plans change. Heaven forbid, we should know about that,” He said quietly, giving Edward a well needed nudge towards healthily accepting the situation.
“It’s not gonna finish where it started, is it?” Edward slipped in an innuendo to further cool the atmosphere.
“Nope, but it’s gonna have a great ending if it finishes up where we’re going.”