"Maybe I could ask my Nation for potential sperm donors," Stephanie mused quietly. "At least then I'd know it was it-getter DNA."
Joan made a non-committal noise as she petted Stephanie's head, pillowed on her lap.
"I just don't have childbearing hips." She shifted to look up at Joan, frowning.
Obligingly, Joan reached over to pat Stephanie's hip. "You have very nice hips." It was true. Stephanie was quite an attractive woman. The ravages of middle age had yet to really find and visit their wrath upon her, despite her age.
Appeased, Stephanie shifted back and sighed. "But they're not childbearing," she said. "Nothing like yours."
"...Thanks ," Joan replied flatly, then resumed petting. "Look, if you're worried about your figure, you could just adopt."
Stephanie frowned thoughtfully. "But then how could I pass on my amazing genes? Unless..." She shifted to look up at Joan again. "Is it possible to inject DNA into a child?"
"Uh...probably not," Joan said slowly. "And at best, it's ethically ambiguous."
"Hm, you have a point, so adoption's out." Stephanie sighed. "Looks like I have no other choice. If I want to have a child, I have to find an it-getter with good sperm, impregnate one of my eggs, and then put it into your womb."
"I said you have childbearing hips, Joan," Stephanie said impatiently, frowning up at her. "Try to keep up."
"But-But I don't—"
"Of course I wouldn't exclude you from participating in my child's life after the birth." Stephanie paused, eyes flicking away for a moment before meeting Joan's, a rare vulnerability stealing onto her features. "After all, you would, sort of, in a technical sense...also be the mother."
Joan froze, understanding suddenly hitting her over the head and squeezing her heart. "Um..."
Huffing softly, Stephanie muttered, "Why couldn't you have been a man?"
Startled and still reeling, Joan took longer than usual to answer. "Because no man could possibly have a laugh as girly as mine?"
"People would just find it adorable," Stephanie scoffed. "Besides, everything would be so much easier if you were a man."
"Right, I might be tall enough to look my guests in the eye without a step stool."
"We could have a normal, heterosexual marriage and-and you're permissive and unconventional enough that you wouldn't make me give up my show, or my Nation," Stephanie continued, oblivious. "I know you're a godless, liberal heathen, but we could make it work!"
"But...I'm not a man," Joan reminded her gently. Her heart suddenly ached for the woman, who was at times caught in the cognitive dissonance of believing women should be submissive and not be in positions of power and being a loud, opinionated woman in a position of power. Stephanie was good at ignoring things she didn't want to think about, but the fear still lurked that she would have to give up the job she loved to become a stay-at-home mom who deferred to a good Catholic husband and was told not to worry her pretty little head about anything, her thoughts and feelings dismissed as silly female prattle.
Stephanie sat up suddenly, staring at Joan with wide, hopeful eyes. "You could be," she said. "The surgery can't be that expensive. And it would totally be worth it!"
Staring at her in disbelief, Joan said, "You're kidding."
"You've already got pretty butch hair."
Joan lifted a hand to self-consciously touch her greying hair. Stephanie's hair was longer, professional yet feminine and shoulder length. Joan usually just went for practicality and convenience, which for her meant less hair for her to somehow mess up. (She had tried growing it out once but, despite the best efforts of the show's hair and makeup people, it had always been messy by the end of the show.) Something suddenly occurred to her. "Wait, is this before or after I have your baby?" she asked.
"Good point." Stephanie rested her head on Joan's shoulder as she pondered it over. "Ideally it would be before, that way the baby wouldn't be born out of wedlock."
"Naturally," Joan muttered, hoping this was an idea Stephanie would quickly grow bored with.
Lifting her head, Stephanie slipped her hand into Joan's and asked softly, "Joan, you would want to help raise my baby...wouldn't you?"
Joan sighed and brought her free hand up to cup Stephanie's cheek. "Of course. I wouldn't want to be a bad, uh...co -mother."
The delighted grin Stephanie gave Joan, before leaning forward to kiss her, almost made up for the fact that Joan had a sneaking suspicion she had just agreed to rent out her womb.