I wasn’t sure how much more difficult it would be having a newborn along with a two-year-old and a fifteen-month-old. But holy guacamole it was insane. If Vilkas wasn’t needing attention, Presea was, and if she wasn’t, Glados needed something. Villy and Presea had gotten on a napping schedule but of course Glados threw it all in a loop plus she wasn’t sleeping nights like the other two were. I had sorta forgotten about that, and felt like a zombie most mornings. Specter took more time off work than he did when Presea was born or when we got Vilkas. Not that he got much sleep, either. In fact one morning I trudged downstairs only to find Specter asleep next to his half-eaten burnt toast.
The first full moon with Vilkas I expected to be absolutely horrible but in fact it wasn’t. Maybe because we weren’t sleeping much anyway? But Specter stayed up to take care of Villy and Glados, and then woke me up to take over. We went back and forth and it wasn’t any worse than the previous nights.
Around the time Specter was going to go back to work I noticed how… errr… not really sad. But… not despairing… some word I knew but didn’t know. He seemed upset. Sorta. He was staring out the window as he fed Glados and kept sighing. “You all right?” I asked, going over to him.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“We have three kids…”
“And there’s something wrong with that?” I asked, heart jumping into my throat.
He shook his head and adjusted the bottle for Glados. “No. Nothing at all. But just weird. Like, unbelievable. For me. Married. Three kids. Still kinda hooked up on the research assistant thing that was bugging me before.” He looked down at Glados as she finished drinking and then handed me the bottle so he could burp her. “Maybe for our next anniversary we should go somewhere. Overnight, just one night. Professor Ro–Rosso can watch the kids? Or maybe Gretchen?”
He sounded so strained, so completely needing that it finally hit me how stressful this life was for him. “How about for your birthday instead?” I asked, since that was sooner.
His entire face relaxed and he even smiled. “Yes, that–that sounds good.”
Long before it got anywhere near his birthday, though, we went to the labs so the doctor could examine me. Examine the thingiemabob inside of me. She did multiple scans from all angles and ran tests on my–my ‘stuff’. She was very adamant that we weren’t getting pregnant naturally but the rest of us had accepted the idea. Or at least the possibility. We decided that eventually we would test that out. It was extremely, horrifyingly embarrassing… they would take Specter’s… stuff and inject it in me as if we had–errr… well, been together. Then I would be under scans to see what happens. And see if it made me pregnant. So we would be having a fourth kid. Eventually. Not anytime soon. Not until Glados was at least a year old, but probably not till she was more like two. Or older. And until then Specter and I would just have to refrain from that sort of sex. Two years. Maybe one. At most. Maybe.
“I would appreciate it if you could come in once a week to monitor the XC,” Dr. Green-Eyes said once we were done.
“XC?” I asked.
The doctor paused and then coughed. “Xenomorph chip.”
“Like a UFO inside my body,” I said and she glowered at me. I giggled. “UPT. Unidentified pregnancy thingiemabob.” She glowered even more and I dissolved into even more giggles.
She opened her mouth to say something but stopped as an alarm began blaring. I jerked in surprise and looked around as a WRRRRNN-WRRRRRN-WRRRRNNN sound surrounded me. There was a light near the door that began flashing red. “Wh–what is that?” I gasped.
“My assumption is that pesky ghost,” the doctor said as she headed to the door.
I stayed where I was till she motioned for me to follow. “Gh–ghost?” I stammered.
“Twice already its tried to break into our labs for unknown reasons,” she said as she took me out of the examination room and into the hall. “At least we assume it is a ghost. Our outside cameras have picked up nothing. It is either someone invisible or a ghost, as our outdoor cameras are not built with the NetherVision.”
“It is what we call the technology giving the ability to see unseeable ghosts,” she responded then she stopped and spun to face me. “Your husband–” this word was said with distaste, “–most likely knows about it. It is some of the technology stolen from me by Everett.”
That name caused a great, unhappy whooshing inside of me. My body tingled as it remembered the zappy torture Everett put me through. “So a ghost has been trying to break in? How come it can’t float through?”
“Surely you have not forgotten what it was like for you,” she sneered. “There are ways to prevent ghosts from entering places they are not wanted. Ah,” she said as the alarm stopped blaring. “It has stopped.”
“I want to see my kids.” I felt the urge to go to the nursery, to make sure they were okay. When I got there Specter was already there. “Is everything all right?” I asked, hurrying over to pick Presea up since all three kids were crying.
“Yeah, I think they were just frightened by the noise,” he said and then he told me pretty much everything the doctor had told me. That some ghost had been trying to break in. Or some invisible person. Most likely a ghost. But that made no sense to me and I said so. “Why…?” Specter asked with a frown.
“Because this place was built here specifically for the–uhhh–connection to the Nether? Or whatever it was? Like, so ghosts are strong. So you can see ghosts. Isn’t that why Uncle Kay and his sister build in places like this so they can see ghosts without the technology?”
Specter just stared at me then began laughing. I blushed angrily, feeling hurt that he was laughing at my idea but then it turned out he wasn’t. After a moment of laughing he said, “Jeez, you’re clever. You’re right. A ghost would show up even without the NV. You, my dear, thought of something the good doctor didn’t.”
The doctor was mad about that. Specter must have told her because the next time I came in for a checkup she was just completely furious with me. She was even more furious when I told her I couldn’t come in once a week. It just wasn’t very fes…fest…feas… easy with 3 kids under the age of two-and-a-half. We argued about it until it was agreed I would come in, for the time being, once a month.
It wasn’t easy potty-training someone who turned into a dog once a month, but we did our best. Vilkas was very uninterested in learning to use the potty but he didn’t make a fuss whenever we put him on the potty. He’d just sit there, babbling, kicking his legs, and waiting patiently for whenever he could be taken off. He didn’t seem to connect the potty chair with going potty although Presea was very fascinated with what was going on and kept climbing up onto the potty on her own. We weren’t sure whether to try with her but we decided why not? And it was the right thing to do because Presea took to potty-training very well. She was proud of herself every time she went and soon Vilkas got very jealous that his sister sometimes got a piece of candy for sitting on the potty while he didn’t.
“Me wan tandy, Papa,” Villy said one morning after Presea successfully went and got an M&M. “Pease?” he added.
“No tandy fo’ Vil,” Presea said and made a show of popping the M&M in her mouth.
Vilkas began crying as Presea crawled off. I cleaned out the potty chair then tried to get Villy to go but he just sobbed for candy until I decided that was enough. Four minutes after I gave up for the morning Villy wet his diaper. “Tandy now, Papa?” he asked hopefully and then went back into throwing a fit when he wasn’t given any.
The summer was loads busier than the summer before. We tried to get out and do stuff for Villy and Presea, but most the time they weren’t particularly interested in the activities. We did the beach again and this time around went a lot easier (though I sunburned again), and then it was Specter’s birthday. We got Gretchen to take care of the kids and Specter and I stayed overnight in a hotel in a big town a couple hours away. We went to the movies, had a fancy dinner, and were up half the night enjoying our completely alone time. In the morning–well, late morning since we both slept in (which was soooo nice) Specter decided he wanted another tattoo.
I think he half-expected me to argue but I didn’t, cause I knew this was just another one of those ‘I’m getting older’ things he was struggling through. I said it was fine, so after lunch we went to a parlor where he chose a tattoo. I sat nearby watching with fascination as they inked up his back. During that time he tried to convince me to get a tattoo–at first I squirmed and shook my head but then thought, why not? So I wound up getting one on my ankle. A small one, just a small one but it still hurt like ugh! Maybe not as bad as labor pains but it still hurt and I ended up crying.
“You didn’t need to get one,” Specter said after we left. We were sitting on a bench and I was trying not to scratch my ankle.
“I know,” I sniffled. “But I really like it.”
“It’s very you,” he said with a chuckle, and I grinned at that.
While it was nice having time alone (okay, super nice–we would need to do that more often) it was very nice being with the kids again. Autumn went on and Villy and Presea both continued learning more and more words, though Villy was definitely more of a talker than Presea was. Specter told me it was a common thing for the second child not to be as much a chatterbug as their older brother and sister. Indeed, if Presea wanted something it was usually Villy who told me. And often he would pause and add that he wanted it too. In fact sometimes I think it was really he who wanted some of the stuff and not Presea, but Presea never complained about it.
My birthday came and went, then Halloween which Vilkas was super excited about and was really into. We weren’t sure how well he’d do since it was the night after the full moon was over and we thought he’d be super tired but he held on, determined to get candy. Presea was still at the not-quite-interested age and of course Glados was just a baby. Then month later, at the start of December, we celebrated Vilkas’s third birthday and then in January, Presea’s second birthday.
As Glados’s first birthday approached Specter and I began talking about kids again. Not for anytime soon, of course, but just as an idea when we should try. I had been into the labs plenty of times to be scanned and stuff but we were no closer in figuring out what the thingiemabob inside me was, or if it even was why I was getting pregnant though by now we all assumed yes. It was connected to all the right things. Plus Specter and I weren’t having that sort of sex, and I wasn’t pregnant yet. Track record showed (as Specter put it) if it was something else, I should be preggers already. And I wasn’t.
“When should we try?” I asked one night in late March.
Specter shrugged and glared at the wall. “I don’t know. Probably not for a while. For your health’s sake.”
I rubbed my belly. Before the kids I had been super thin (badly so, cause of all the weight I lost after my miscarriage) but after Glados had been born I had kept a bit of the weight. But what about under that weight? Why were multiple pregnancies so bad for guys? Well, multiple pregnancies were bad for girls but there wasn’t any limit. Hospitals put a strict limit of four pregnancies for a male. “Has anyone gone over the limit of four?” I asked.
Specter looked a bit surprised at the question. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “But we’re not going over that limit.”
“No. No, I just wondered.” I stretched out onto the bed, smiling at Specter. “I think we should have another kid soon.”
“Villy has Presea, and Presea has Villy. We should give Gladdy a playmate. And then we can get this thingiemabob dealt with, and get on with our lives.”
Specter raised his eyebrows high, got a little smirk on his face, then the smirk disappeared. “We shouldn’t risk it, not so soon.”
“But–” I struggled to figure out how to explain my protest but couldn’t, so all I got out was the one word. I swallowed, and tried again. “I think we–wouldn’t it be best? I mean, to just get on? With our lives? And stuff? And–and not have to worry about–“
“Worry about?” he cut me off. “Like, another pregnancy so soon? What that might do to your body? The mortal–” Now he stopped and went pale.
“The mortal what?” I inquired but he didn’t answer. “The mortal what?” I demanded, now getting up and going over to him.
“Don’t nothing me.”
Specter put his hands on my shoulders and stared me right in the eyes. “The mortality rate for men and birth is higher than females and birth. The mortality rate for men in their third or fourth is higher than in their first or second. I just think it’s best to–to let your body rest a bit longer.”
“What if the thing inside me is dangerous?”
Specter blinked slowly. “Wh-what?”
“What if it’s dangerous?” I repeated. “What if it’s bad? What if it does bad things to me if we leave it in there much longer?”
“Maybe we should just take it out then. Now. You’ve not gotten pregnant since we’ve abstained from you receiving. It seems to me that, logically, whatever is inside of you causes natural male pregnancy and–and so we take it out and–and… and problem solved.”
I stepped away from him, feeling a bit annoyed. “Oh, as simple as that?”
“It might not be that simple. What if that’s not the case?”
“You want another kid,” he said flatly.
“I w-want to know what’s going on with my own body.”
“You want another kid.”
I folded my arms, pouting. “Maybe I do. But I also want to know what’s going on.”
“That can happen by taking the–the thing out.”
“And we can also maybe find out more if we–” But just then there was a thump outside our door and it opened. We both looked and there was Villy, clutching his white-and-blue werewolf toy and sniffling. “I hadda bad dweam,” he said. “Wanna sleep wif you.”
Specter and I exchanged looks then Specter picked Villy up. “Bad dream, huh? Why don’t you tell me about it and I’ll read you a story. If you can’t get to sleep after that you can sleep in here, okay?”
Villy sniffled again and buried his face against Specter. “Otay, Dada.”
They left and I sank down on the edge of the bed, clutching my stomach. Okay, so I did want more kids. Just one, so Gladdy could have someone too. Plus I was super curious if it was ‘natural’ except it wouldn’t be, would it? If it was alien or magic, except magic was natural–ugh. It hurt my head. I decided not to think about that part of the whole thing and went back to thinking about having another kid. I wasn’t sure if Specter would want to talk about it anymore so I didn’t bring the subject up when he finally returned. Instead I asked about Villy.
“He’s fine, he fell asleep.” Specter sat next to me and pulled me close, nuzzling my neck. “I’m getting pretty tired though. Kids are–kids are exhausting.”
“Yeah, they are,” I said unhappily.
“But one more wouldn’t be too bad.”
“Oh!” I spun to look at him. “Really?”
He stroked my cheek then kissed my forehead. “I think four is a nice number. We can see what happens with the–the chip thing, and if that is what is causing the pregnancy then perhaps the lab can study it well enough to help further same-sex pregnancy.”
“For science, then?” I asked and Specter had to cover his mouth to quiet his laughter. “Well it’s true isn’t it? My next pregnancy will be for science!”
He snickered some more then pushed me back onto the bed and kissed me hard. “Oh Chance. You’re so cute,” he said, snuggling against me. “I love you.”
As the days continued on we eventually talked to the doctor and Uncle Kay about starting up the testing sometime eventually soon. The doctor was super excited while Uncle Kay was nervous, for the same reasons Specter had been. I managed to convince him it was something I did really want to do and not just something for the doctor or because I felt it would be ‘right’. I think some of the days he and Specter talked at the labs when I didn’t go in, but I never knew for sure.
Gladdy turned one, and everyone was really excited. It was so weird seeing her age up, knowing that just the previous year Presea had–and in a couple years another kid will be. And then it will happen again as they aged up more later. And then Specter and I would know Villy’s birthday for sure… I hoped we had gotten it close. But now was Gladdy’s birthday, and she was as adorable as ever.
“Gladdy gwow up,” Villy said.
“Cake,” Presea said.
Gladdy didn’t say anything, of course. She just yawned and looked a bit sleepy until we put a tiny bit of cake in front of her and then she got excited (which made me giggle a bit considering where her name was from). She was indeed a little cutie but if I thought no longer having a newborn would make it easier I was really wrong. It was just as crazy as before, maybe even more so. Was I reeeallly adding a fourth kid into this? But then I’d see Villy and Presea playing together and Gladdy doing her own thing and just want to give Gladdy a companion too. Plus maybe having another boy would be cool. Two girls, two boys… although thinking about having a son sometimes made me think of my lost baby, and then I’d get pretty moody and sad.
We ultimately decided that we’d start in May which would mean, if we were lucky, the earliest we’d have the fourth was in February but it’d most likely be March or April, possibly later. But May was just a month away–and that was kinda scary. I remembered a year ago, suddenly being all busified by having three kids… now it was even busier before. Especially since Gladdy had discovered the ability to crawl around at high speed and yank things down. She also loved harassing Mr. Fluffy whenever he and Gretchen visited. Mr. Fluffy would yowl, hiss, and run and hide but he never scratched or bit. Though he and Villy really didn’t get along. They never had and I figured they never would.
When the weather was nice I’d take them all to the park for short bursts of time. Some mornings there would be other parents with their little ones though they didn’t always seem to be pleased I was there. I had no idea if it was because I was a guy, a gay guy, or because Villy had the glowing eyes. Oh they were super nice to my face but their voices were that really gross, sweet, drippy type of talking. Sometimes when we left I could hear whispering. It made me kinda sad, especially since I didn’t know the reason. I really, really, really hoped it was me and not Villy, but I could see some of the moms… like… one time Villy was in the sandbox and a kid maybe a year older than him came over to play and the kid’s mom hurried over, said something about being late for something, and took him. Maybe the mother was late for something? But it really scared me.
The other supernaturals in the town… it was weird. But I never really came across any in my usual routine. I never saw anyone with glowing eyes. Or wings. Or using magic. And I certainly didn’t see any ghosts but I figured maybe if I went out more at night I would. So what was gonna happen with Villy when he was older? At school? Would he have to deal with people being suddenly late for things?
It was times like that that I sorta wished I had a better memory and could remember my own childhood. How my parents dealt with having a weird, not-normal baby. I didn’t think I ever went to a public school but pffft, I couldn’t remember everything really.
“Is there like, a private school for supernaturals?” I asked Specter one night, pretty close to when we were gonna be going to the labs.
Specter’s brow got all wrinkly as he stared at me. “Uh, I don’t think so. Why?”
I flopped back onto the bed and sighed. “Just thinking about Vilkas, and when he’s ready for school. His eyes sorta set him apart from other kids.”
Specter stretched out next to me and I began tracing designs on his arm. “That’s what I said when we were adopting. Werewolves are not usually… easily adopted. Werewolves, faeries, and vampires are visibly different but–but… werewolves… lose themselves, once a month. They just lose themselves.”
I nodded, knowing this was true. Villy was completely a puppy when he was a wolf. Maybe when he was older I could ask him about it… if he remembers. But I was pretty sure that while his human memories didn’t really go into his wolf form, his wolf memories stayed when he was human because sometimes when he was caught doing something bad he would tell himself ‘bad doggy’. I tried telling him he was a little boy and not a dog, and he’d give me this weird smile but then next time he needed a timeout he’d say it again. Specter and I really weren’t sure what to do about that, but it was another addition to our plate of worries which definitely included the upcoming experimenting.
I began to get stressed, I knew Specter was stressed, Uncle Kay was worried, and the doctor was excited (at least as excited as she was capable of getting). We all went to the labs in early May and I left the kids in the daycare before going to the rooms I always was in when I was being checked, examined, or whatever. I changed into the gown and then paced around, waiting.
“I am glad we are finally getting to this,” the doctor said when she came in. She said it kinda accusing. I wanted to point out all the things Specter and I had gone over about the health worries, but I knew it would just… fall… not… fall on… not be listened to. She wouldn’t listen. She wouldn’t care.
“So what will we be doing?” I asked. “Cause we’re finished with the scans, right?”
“We are finished with the preliminary work,” she replied coolly. “Specter has given us what we need from him. We will see what happens when his seminal fluid is injected in you. You will be under scans, and we will continue to observe you.”
“I’ll be here a while, huh,” I said more than asked.
“Yes. As long as it takes. You will be able to walk a bit but you must remain laying down as much as possible.”
I squirmed unhappily, completely embarrassed about the idea of them watching what they were gonna be watching. It wasn’t… it, but it was–what basically was… the after… part of… sorta… oh Watcher. This was going to be embarrassing and the entire time, I just felt like crying and at one point I did. It was when the scans were set up and my insides were shown on a screen, just before I was… er, injected. Uncle Kay asked if I wanted to not continue and I shook my head.
“We c-can continue. It’s just awk–awkward,” I sniffled. He and the doctor had seen a lot of me, a lot more of me than I ever really saw cause of all the close examination they did of my insides but it was still just awful. Maybe cause while it wasn’t it, it wasn’t sex, it was still an intimate thing even it was all science-y. “Is Specter gonna be here?”
“I c-can see if he c-can be in the room with you.”
He was, and I held his hand when I was injected. It was awful, embarrassing, and I was glad when it was over. But then I had to lay down for a long time as the screens were watched. I didn’t watch the screen. I mostly played some video games since I was allowed to bring in my handheld systems. I did sleep for a period, and Specter and I watched a movie. I had no idea what was going on but I didn’t want to know–not till it was over, and when it was over the doctor did tell me some of what happened. It went over my head except the part where everything we had suspected over the past months were confirmed.
Whatever the sac was, whatever the thingiemabob was… it was, in fact, made my body somehow make it so I could become naturally pregnant. Whether I was pregnant now or not, we weren’t sure, but according to the scans the sac and the thingiemabob stored Specter’s sperm, drew in my stuff, and mixed it together in a weird way. We weren’t sure how or why it did it but that was something to be figured out another day since we were waiting to see if I was pregnant.
At the end of May it was confirmed–there was gonna be a fourth little Danevbie-Greyson. And then in early August we found out there’d be a fifth one, too. Twins. Oh Watcher.