Joan felt ill, and the pregnancy had nothing to do with it.

Joan was in her forties, in a high-pressure job, finally pregnant after a long history of presumed infertility. The news of Annie Walker's death was exactly the sort of stressor she was supposed to be avoiding.

This was her first pregnancy. Her first child. Those close to her often cattily referred to her subordinates at the DPD as her "babies," and Joan could draw the parallels. Young operatives were crybabies. They made messes they couldn't clean up, and most of them were afraid of the dark. Joan knew everything there was to know about coaching a scared-shitless 25-year-old through their first year as an op, but she didn't know the first thing about actually raising a child.

Joan had just finished reading up on morning sickness when she learned of Annie's death. The nausea that swept over her in that moment was unlike anything she'd experienced all trimester. And now, hugging the toilet in the ladies' room, she knew that her stomach was upset about a different baby. Annie. And Auggie for that matter. As she swept her hair up into a ponytail and checked her blazer for any foul evidence, Joan caught a pang of what Arthur must be feeling, what he must have felt for months, and the guilt she felt about both Teo and Annie sent her right back into the stall.

How was Auggie going to react to this? He'd been through too much. It wasn't fair to him. Damn if that boy didn't have the worst luck. Joan imagined losing Arthur the way Auggie lost Annie, and she heaved again. It was all too much. She wished there was a way to rewind, to go back and make the right decisions now that she could see the consequences, but a career spy knew better. Mistakes were made. The only remaining direction, was forward.