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Maternity and Sorority

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“I feet like shit,” Nora announced as she walked into the lab holding her stomach with a grumpy expression. 

Mona and Ava both looked up from their spots on the couch where they were setting up the wine and cheese platters for book club. Ray was out with Nate and Behrad for some bro time, and Nora was looking forward to some girl time of her own. She loved book club, but right now all she wanted was a nap.

“Come here,” Ava said, gesturing to Nora from her spot in the pile of pillows on the carpet. 

Nora slowly made her way over and laid down next to her as Ava scooted closer and Nora moved to lay her head on Ava’s chest.

“Cuddle party, I want in,” Mona said, dropping the book she was holding and running over. 

“You’d better take Nora’s other side or Sara will be jealous when she and the others get back with the snacks,” Ava added even though Mona had already moved to be Nora's big spoon.

“She can share,” Nora pouted, nuzzling Ava and relaxing as Mona held her. 

“What's wrong?” Mona asked as she started to run her fingers through Nora’s hair. 

Nora sighed, she wasn’t sure what it was. “I’ve just been so tired and nauseated and my stomach is cramping so I think I'm getting my period, but this has been going on for a couple of days now.”

“Oh my god, what if you're pregnant,” Mona said, sitting up and staring down at them.

“You always go straight to pregnancy. You even thought Sara was pregnant a few weeks ago after she puked while cleaning out Mick’s month old leftovers and she’s dating a cis woman!” Ava said, giving her a look and throwing up her arms while gesturing to herself. 

“You never know what could happen and we all got our periods last week except for Nora. You've admitted to occasionally forgetting your birth control and no one else has the flu.”

They both looked at Nora who shrugged, but her mind swirled with the possibility. A pregnancy? A baby? It did make sense and it was all she could think about as she stared off into the distance. 

Ava looked like she was about to say something else, but cut herself off when they heard the door to the lab open. Nora buried her face in Ava's chest even though it was just Sara, Charlie, and Zari. As Nora was getting used to expressing her emotions, she always ended up wearing them on her face and she wanted to have time to process this alone. 

“Hey, my Ava!” Nora heard Sara shout.

“You can share,” Ava said, taking one hand off of Nora's back, probably to offer it to Sara. “Come here.”

Nora didn't have to look up to know that Sara had an adorable little pout of complaint; it brought a smile to her face knowing how ridiculous her friends were. She didn't hear Sara's response, but did feel it when she laid her head next to Nora’s. Ava moved Sara’s head away so they could each settle on Ava’s chest. Once Sara was settled they all started talking about whether they wanted to read or just talk and watch a movie. Nora secretly hoped that it was the latter. She half listened to the conversation and thought over what Mona had said. 

Nora knew two things for sure. She was late and she was sick, and not just a few days late, a whole week late. Even though her period hadn’t always been regular for her, she hadn't skipped it since she had started birth control and usually, it was only a few days late. Nora quickly looked up pregnancy symptoms on her phone and found that she had almost all of them: morning sickness, lightheadedness, frequent urination, abdominal cramps, fatigue, and breast changes. 

There was something inside her that just told her that this was a real possibility, she could take a test, but Nora knew there was another way she could know. She closed her eyes and focused on her magic as she explored her own body. Sure enough, she felt something, the tiniest of changes, a little something extra, an extra part of her growing inside her. As soon as she felt it, she knew. Nora set up quickly, which was a mistake as it made her dizzy and nauseous, but she pushed it away and looked over at Mona and Ava.

“I’m pregnant.”

“You’re pregnant?” Charlie asked, sitting up and looking over at her with wide eyes.

“I think so, I just felt something with my magic and...” Nora trailed off hardly believing what was happening.

“Nora.” 

Ava’s voice brought her out of her head as Ava put her hand on Nora’s shoulder. Ava sat up and Mona moved behind her and placed her arm around her. “Why don’t we go to the Med-Bay and have Gideon scan you, okay?”

“Okay.”


 

All four of the women and Charlie piled into the Med-Bay. Nora sat down in the chair and after a quick scan from Gideon, she confirmed the pregnancy.

“From the date of the last day of your menstruation, Miss. Darhk, you are five weeks and 2 days pregnant.”

“I wanna see it,” Nora said, the process of actually being pregnant was so foreign to her and she wanted to see indisputable proof. 

“Would you like a comprehensive full display scan, a 3D scan, or a 2D black and white ultrasound?”

“The black and white is fine, thanks, Gideon.”

Gideon started the scan over her abdomen and displayed a grey image with a black spot in the middle. It was so tiny, Gideon zoomed in a little bit more so they got a better look, but it was just black with the little grey outline of a bubble that was supposed to be the baby, but it wasn't really much of anything. Certainly, not a baby, or at least Nora didn't think so, but Nora didn't really want to think about it being a baby. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to be pregnant at all, but she was. 

“I'm pregnant,” Nora said, the words finally sinking in as she sat up and swung her legs around to sit over the side of the chair. 

“It's going to be okay,” Mona said, coming over as she and Ava sat down next to her. Each of them put an arm around her, making her feel a little bit better because she knew she didn't have to face this on her own.

“But what am I supposed to do?” Nora asked, looking between them. 

“You can do whatever you want to do,” Ava reassured her. 

“And how do I know what that is?” Nora asked as she began to freak out. 

“I don't know,” Ava said, squeezing her shoulders. “I'll never be in your position, you know I don't have a uterus, so I can't offer much, but I know that you are not taking this lightly and that you'll figure it out.”

“But how?” Nora said, getting up and pacing the length of the room. “This isn't exactly planned and I don’t really want to be in the situation right now.”

“So don't be,” Charlie said, letting the words hang in the room. 

“So I could just have an abortion, right now?”

“If you wanted to,” Charlie said, looking around at all of them before continuing. “I was pregnant once. A long, long, time ago, way before I stopped having a uterus in whatever form I chose. I think that was the last time I had a uterus, after that, I just didn't bother with it.”

Charlie gave a little shrug before continuing. “For me it was easy. I just shifted my form into one without a uterus and it all went away, so I continued on with my life. If I would have kept it, it would have been a demigod. I know it was the right decision because I wasn't ready for that responsibility and I don't think I'll ever be ready. I don't want kids and it sucks to be brought into a world and raised by someone who doesn't want you. I wouldn't wish that on anybody, let alone my own offspring.”

Nora thought about what Charlie said, she didn’t want any future children to ever feel unwanted. For now, she felt she could go either way. Nora looked down at her stomach and imagined it ballooned out with a full term baby. “And what if I wanted to keep it? What would that look like?”

“I don't really know,” Zari said, looking over at Nora in a tone that was more serious than she had ever heard from the influencer. “But you could talk to my mom if you wanted to. I was not planned. Both of them were really young at the time and newly married. They hadn't quite figured everything out in their own lives, much less trying to figure out how to raise a child, but they made it work. They were lucky enough to be able to buy a house and they took all sorts of baby related classes and read books and lots of my family members helped out. It wasn't without its sacrifices, my father worked extra hours and my mother put her own career on hold. If it was me, I would keep it. I just don't think I could go through with an abortion. I've always wanted kids and regardless, I'm emotionally and finically ready for them, but that's me, and you have to make your own decision about this.”

Nora looked up at Zari and thought about what she said. She and Ray could make it work, Ray would love to be a dad and he would adore their child, but it wouldn't be without sacrifices. 

“We wouldn't be able to stay here on the Waverider and I don’t know if I could continue to be a fairy godmother. We’d have to settle down. I don't know if we could continue to time travel. I know how much Ray loves this life and I’m constantly being pulled away as a fairy godmother to help out other kids. I love working with them and think of them as my own kids temporarily, but it’d be different if we had an older kid. They would be in school and we could do the nine-to-five thing and then come home and have a family. With a baby, you'd have to find care for them and they need you so much. I don't know if I want that.”

Nora looked around at all of them, but none of them looked at her with pity or with sadness. They all nodded and she knew they would support her decision. 

“If you want to have an abortion you can have it here. Gideon can provide you with either a medical abortion or with the pills. It's hard either way, you're going to want to take some time off, trust me.” Sara said as she looked over at Ava. Ava reached out for her and Sara took a step towards her. She took Ava’s hand and Ava gave her a little smile before Sara continued. “I know because I had an abortion when I was 23.”

“You did?” Nora asked, looking up at Sara who looked away from Ava, and back at Nora, with a nod. “What was it like? I mean, are you okay sharing?”

Sara nodded again and Ava pulled Sara in to sit in between her legs and wrapped her arms around Sara’s waist. Sara smiled as Ava kissed her shoulder and she relaxed against Ava. 

“A few months after being taken in by the League of Assassins, I got pregnant after a one night stand, this was before I was with Nyssa. I didn’t want to be pregnant so I got an abortion. There was no room in my life for a baby and I was in a dark place, but I do sometimes think about what it would have been like to have a child back then. Lord knows the League of Assassins was no place to raise a child, but if I had gone back home and kept it, who knows what my life would have looked like? I knew then, that I wasn't in the best place to raise a child. I knew then that I didn't want to keep it and looking back, I know I made the right decision,” Sara said, looking up from where she was staring at her and Ava’s hands to look at Nora.

Nora nodded, taking in what Sara said. “What was the abortion like?”

“Nyssa and I went to China where I was able to get the abortion. There were two abortion pills, I took the first at the clinic, but I didn’t start bleeding until I took the second medication a few hours later after we got back to the place we were staying. Then I passed the pregnancy. The abortion itself was painful, like a heavy period with a lot of cramping and I was really sick and nauseous. The pregnancy came out in chunks of blood and tissue, it was hard, but it was over in a few hours and then, I just bled like I would have with a normal period. It took me a couple of days to recover and even then, I took it easy because I was still bleeding. I had a follow up appointment to confirm the abortion and to check that I was okay and after that, it was all over…”

Sara trailed off, closing her eyes for a second and relaxing against Ava before looking back over at Nora and continuing. “I just felt so relieved, so relieved that I didn't have to worry or figure out what to do and all those things that come with having a kid. I don't regret it, I know I made the right decision and that’s what you have to decide. What is the right decision for you? The choice to have an abortion is one you have to seriously consider, but so is the decision to have a kid. The kind of changes you would have to make to have a kid, they're big ones, your whole life changes.”

Nora nodded, taking in everything that Sara had said. Just hearing Sara talk about her experience and what the process was, helped Nora understand it. She looked over at Mona, the only person who hadn't said anything yet. Mona was one of her best friends and Nora valued all of her advice. Mona had been the one to help her develop a relationship with Ray and she wouldn't have the wonderful life she did without Mona. 

“Mona, do you have anything to add?”

“Not really,” Mona said, with a shrug. “I got diagnosed with infertility when I was 15 so the pregnancy stuff has never been in my future and I've made my peace with that. If it was me and I was pregnant, I would keep it. I would feel like it would be my one chance, but this isn't your one chance Nora, and my decision wouldn’t be yours. You can have an abortion now and choose to have another baby later if that's what you want. I know that whatever decision you make it will be the right one for you, but I think that you should tell Ray. He loves you, and he will support you in whatever decision you make. You're gonna want him by your side throughout the process and you know that he will dote on you, he always has.”

“Mona’s right,” Sara added, putting her hand on Nora’s knee. “This isn't something you should go through on your own and having your partner there with you makes a world of difference.”

Nora knew they were right, she should tell Ray. The two of them were partners and the only thing that Nora wanted was to have him hold her and she knew that he would be there for her unconditionally.

Hearing all the women and Charlie's stories helped her know what would be the best decision for her right now. She had made up her mind. Nora stood up and turned around to look back at them. “Thank you guys for everything, for being here for me, and for helping me know my options. Right now, I think that an abortion is what’s best for me. I'm just not ready for a baby, and you're right I should talk to Ray. I want him by my side and I know he will support me.”

Mona smiled at her and pulled her in for a hug as Nora melted in her arms. 

“Group hug!” Charlie shouted and they all pulled in. Nora got a little squished, but it was always worth it. She’d never gotten hugs like this before she stepped on the ship and she treasured every one of them. It was the little things that made her feel loved. 

Once they parted Nora looked up at the ceiling, a habit among the crew when they talked to the resident A.I. “Gideon, can you call Ray and tell him to meet me in our bedroom?”

“Of course Miss. Darhk.”


 

Nora fidgeted with her hands as she waited for Ray to portal into their room. She had some idea of what she wanted to say to him, but she wasn't sure how to break the news to him without him initially being excited. 

They had talked about kids a little bit and he was open to a future with kids after they got married. He talked about how excited he would be for a baby, but he knew Nora wasn't totally sold on the idea yet and they had agreed to keep talking. He respected her boundaries and agreed to wait. When they talked about the future Nora was sure that she wanted to marry Ray Palmer and she was open to the idea of one day starting a family with him. However, they hadn't been dating very long and she didn't want to rush into things because they had to. She wanted to take things slow and give herself and Ray time to plan out their life together. 

However, she didn't have time to dwell on that anymore as the portal opened and Ray stepped through. Behind him, She could see the hallway of Constantine's house and hear the other guys laughing and talking, but the portal quickly closed. He had a concerned look on his face as he stepped towards her and the fact that her face mirrored his expression, caused the lines and his forehead to deepen.

“Hey, Gideon called and said that you had something you wanted to tell me?” Ray asked as he walked over to her.

“Um, yeah I do,” Nora said. She couldn't bear to look at him and look down at her hands, fidgeting with her fingers. 

Ray put his hands over her, taking her hands and holding them as he gave them a reassuring squeeze. When she looked up, she saw that he had kneeled in front of her. “Nora, is everything okay?”

“No, no, it's not,” Nora said, shaking her head. “I’m... I have.... I'm going to tell you something, but I don't want you to get excited because... because we can't keep it… I don't... I don't want to keep it.”

Nora stopped to take a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. Ray’s look of confusion only deepened. He tilted his head in a way that meant he was trying to figure something out. “Nora whatever it is, if it's making you feel like this then, of course, I won't be excited. I don’t want anything that makes you this upset.”

Nora just shook her head and decided just to tell him. “I’m pregnant.”

“Oh? Oh!” Was all Ray said as Nora looked down. “So you don't want to keep it, you want to get an abortion?”

“Yes.” 

“Okay.”

Nora paused, unsure if she had heard him right. Nora looked up to see him still staring at her, still with a look of deep concern for her. He reached up to hold her face.

“Nora I know we’ve talked about having kids, but if you want to terminate it, then you should,” Ray said, his words were soft and gentle and full of understanding.

“So you’re okay with this?” Nora asked, still unsure. “You’re okay with us not having a baby right now? It’s just that I know that you love your life here on the Waverider and I love my work and we wouldn't be able to have both with a baby. They would need at least one of us 24/7 and we can’t give them that, without some big sacrifices.”

“Of course, I'm okay with this Nora,” Ray said, punctuating his words as he squeezed her hands. “If you aren't ready for this, then it's not something we have to do. Besides, I'm not ready for this either. I mean, our lives are crazy right now. I'm off chasing villains through time and you're constantly being pulled away to help your fairy godchildren. I mean, we don't even have a room for a baby, we haven't read any pregnancy books, let alone any baby books, and we'd have to change everything, we’re just not ready.”  

Ray let out a deep breath and Nora could tell that he had gotten worked up just thinking about it. Nora pulled him in close and kissed his lips. She melted into him and let him pull her close and wrap her up in a big bear hug. His hugs always made her feel safe, and warm, and wanted. She felt at home in his arms. They shifted so that he could sit against the headboard and she could curl up in his lap with his big arms around her. 

“For now,” Ray said, breaking the silence. “What are we going to do about this pregnancy? You said you wanted to terminate it, when do you want to do that?”

“Now, kind of,” Nora said, taking in a deep breath before letting it out. “I just, I don't want to be pregnant.”

“Okay,” Ray said, kissing her head.

Ray didn't make any signs to move and just kept hugging Nora, holding her close and Nora let herself relax for the first time since this whole thing started. Nora just breathed in Ray’s sweet scent. Eventually, they got up and made their way to the Med-Bay.

“Hello, Mr. Palmer and Miss. Darhk,” Gideon greeted them with her usual cheerful tone. “I'm aware of your decision and have everything set up for you. How would you like to proceed? As you are aware, there are two options for an abortion.”

“Can you do the procedure, Gideon?” Nora asked while staring at the chairs. “I just want it out.”

“Of course, Mrs. Palmer,” Gideon said as a drawer popped open to their left. I'll just have you change into a gown and I'll have everything set up for you in the chair on the left and the door to the Med-Bay has been locked.”

“Thank you, Gideon,” Ray said as he put his hand on Nora's lower back and led her to the drawer. 

He pulled out the gown and held it up for her. There was nothing special about it, just an ordinary white and blue polka dot hospital gown with a pair of socks. 

Nora quickly got changed and sat down on the chair. Neither of them was sure how this would happen and Nora reached out and grabbed Ray’s hand. He put both of his big hands over hers and gave her a reassuring smile. A door opened in the wall and a machine came out and stopped at the end of the chair which split with stirrups as Nora’s legs dangled in between them.

“Alright Mrs. Palmer, please lay back and put your legs into the stirrups. I'll be giving you a light anesthetic and then we will begin, you will be awake throughout the procedure, and you will have to stay in the Med-Bay for a few hours afterward. It’s just until you're recovered from the anesthetic then you can go back to your room. I'd advise that you take it easy the next 24 hours and only return to physical activity once you feel up to doing so. Captain Lance has already asked Mr. Constantine to cast an anti-magic spell around the ship so you will not be pulled away during your recovery and rest assured Mr. Constantine is unaware of the circumstances.” 

“Ready?” Ray asked.

Nora only nodded as he placed the medical cuff over her left hand and the machine buzzed to life at her hips. Ray gave her hand an extra squeeze and Gideon told her that she was staring. 


 

A few hours later Nora was back in her own bed, cuddled up with Ray, and watching ‘Singing in the Rain’. She was still a little out of it from the sedative, and lazily watched the movie. The girls and Charlie had all stopped by to check in and deliver her favorite meal, a veggie pizza with fresh chocolate chip cookies and milk, all gluten-free of course. The nausea from the anesthetic still hadn't quite passed so she pushed the plate away and turned to roll back and look up at Ray who was spooning her.

“How are you feeling?” Ray asked, leaning down to press a kiss to her forehead before she could answer. 

Nora took a moment to enjoy his kiss, his touch, and his arms around her. It was the little things like this that she enjoyed most about being with him, how sweet he was with her, how kind and caring, and how he put her needs first. She's never really had someone in her life that did that for her before without expecting something in return, and she was so appreciative of it. 

“Good, but tired,” Nora said, looking up at him. “Thanks.”

“Of course,” Ray nodded, pulling the blankets up to tuck her in. “Do you want to shut the movie off and take a nap?”

“Yeah.” 

He nodded and reached for the remote, shutting off the TV, and asked Gideon to dim the lights. He took their plates and the leftovers back to the kitchen and then came back to cuddle in her arms. Nora rested her head on his bicep and curled her fingers into his shirt as they settled in.

“How are you feeling emotionally?” 

“Honestly, I just feel relieved not to be pregnant anymore,” Nora said, letting out a breath.

“Good, I’m glad you're feeling okay.”

“We did the right thing,” Nora said as she closed her eyes. “Thank you for supporting me in this.”

“I’m always going to support you,” Ray said as if it was nothing. “I love you Nora and I want you to be happy and comfortable. I would never make you do something you didn't want to do or put your body through something you weren't 100% on board with.”

Nora teared up at that and hugged him tighter. “God I love you, Ray Palmer.”

“And I love you too, Nora Darhk,” Ray said, leaning down so he could give her a kiss. It was soft and she lingered on his lips before she settled back into his arms. Happy and content.


 

Nora walked up the steps of the parlor with Ray’s hand on her lower back. He had paused on the lower step and when she turned around they were now closer in height. Ray leaned in and kissed her cheek before taking a step back and waving to her. “Text me when you're done and I'll come to walk you back to our room.”

Nora heard some giggles from the others behind her but ignored them. Ray had been doting on her a bit more in the past week and honestly, Nora didn't mind it at all. She still wasn't feeling 100% back to normal and it was nice to know that he was there for her. So she just blushed and waved back to him. 

“Sounds good.”

Ray waved one more time before walking away and Nora turned around to face the rest of them waiting for her for book club night. When she turned around all of them greeted her with hi’s and hello’s and rushed in to hug her.

It had only been a week since her abortion and all of them offered to postpone and made it very clear that Nora was under no obligation to attend. However, Nora wanted to get back to her life and was eager to see her friends. Nora was also looking forward to hearing one of Mona’s excited rants as apparently one of her favorite writers just dropped a new book. Mona had spent the last 24 hours reading and rereading it and was now overly excited to talk about it. 

“I'm so happy to see you,” Mona said, getting to her first and pulling her in for a hug that was just a little too tight, but Nora wouldn't have it any other way.

As soon as she was done Ava pulled her in for a hug as well and soon all of them piled in for a group hug. When they all settled down Ava made sure to pour her a glass of wine and clinked their glasses together, like she always did. Nora relaxed back into her chair, happy to be around her friends again. 

“How are you feeling?” Sara asked, reclaiming her spot on Ava’s lap.

“Good,” Nora said with a smile. “I wanted to thank you all for telling me your stories and helping me through this process. You never once told me what I should or shouldn't do and you encouraged me to do what was best for me and my situation and I want to thank you for it.”

All of them responded, that of course they were happy to help and Nora looked around at all their smiling faces. She had never had so many friends before and felt so lucky to get such great ones.

“Okay, but can we please talk about this new book?” Mona asked, practically vibrating with excitement.

“Yes, Mona, what did you think of it?” Nora asked, taking a sip of her wine.

“Well, first of all, I can't believe the author kept the fact that he was a vampire a secret for the first half of the book. It kinda felt like it just came out of nowhere, but then I looked back and was like, of course, he was a vampire.”

“And it's not like other vampire novels, which was a good relief,” Sara added, leaning forward so much that if not for Ava’s hands around her waist Nora was sure she’d fall onto the floor. 

“Yes,” Mona said, jumping up. 

“Okay, but if they were vampires then how did he survive the hotel fire in chapter 3. Because later in chapter 11, he said that the only way to kill a vampire was to either stab them or burn them?” Zari asked, gesturing wildly with her hands knowing it was the only way to get their attention.

Nora caught Ava’s smile as she gave Nora a wink as they watched Sara and Mona fuel each other’s excitement. They laughed together at their infectious excitement and drank more wine. Mona and Sara continued to talk over each other and excited voices about the book while Zari and Charlie occasionally chimed in with their own input and Nora let her mind wander. 

She hadn't realized that she was still smiling until her cheeks began to ache. She was so happy and Nora knew that no matter what life threw at her, as long as she had Ray and her friends, she would be happy.