Naturally, Lumie found out first. She wanted to come over right away but I managed to convince her not to come over until the next day since I wanted to spend the rest of the day with Goose. But first thing the following morning Lumie showed up on the doorstep to offer her congratulations.
She hugged Goose tightly, hugged me, then she began cautiously asking questions about the whole thing–making sure Goose felt fine answering them. She wanted to know how the elf pregnancy thing worked. She whistled when he explained and said, “That’s some kind of birth control. Well, for people not my idiotic brother.”
I kicked at her ankle and Goose pushed his glasses up. “I didn’t talk to him about it anymore than he did with me, you know.”
“Yes but I have to put all the blame on my brother,” Lumie laughed, and Goose smiled back. “I can’t believe I’m gonna be an aunt again. This is so exciting!” She flung her arms around me. >I’m really happy for you, little brother. I know how much you want a kid.<
>But you’re worried,< I said, as I could hear her other thoughts.
>Yeah, okay, sorry. I can’t help it. You two are just… so… early on…<
I crinkled my nose at that. >Yeah.< I wanted to shut her out, not hear these thoughts but I couldn’t do that anymore. >And it scares me, it does. What if it happens again? Maybe I’m just unlucky in love.<
Lumie glanced at Goose who knew we were having a private conversation but he didn’t complain about it, he just sat quietly with a smile on his face. When we looked at him he perked up a bit. >He’s not Davy, and you’ve learned from your mistakes for the most part,< Lumie said then out loud a she stood, “You two are sickeningly wonderful together.”
We waited until September before telling anyone else, just as Goose finished up his first trimester. My family got together to celebrate Dad’s 58th birthday and Pa’s 52nd birthday–so since almost everyone was included besides Vilkas and his family, Goose and I figured it’d be a good time to make the announcement. We got my dads matching “world’s best grandpa” t-shirts.
I slithered an arm around Goose’s waist. “Little Alex won’t be the baby of the family anymore,” I said proudly. “You’ll have a werewolf grandbaby and an…” I looked at Goose who giggled. “And an elfling grandbaby.”
Pa shrieked and dove over, hugging both of us while Dad just continued to stare in disbelief. Pa kissed my face then kissed Goose, jumping up and down before nearly falling over. The rest of the family congratulated us, giving us both hugs and exclaiming over Goose’s belly. Everyone got more excited once they found out the baby would be born in only six months. Finally Dad reacted, coming over so he could give me a hug and Goose a pat on the back, congratulating us both.
“When do you find out if it’s a boy or girl? Or twins?” Gladdy asked.
Glados laughed. “That’s actually a myth though there is a chance of hyperovulation being inherited through the mother’s side of the family, having a father be the twin does not mean a higher possibility of having twins… although considering the fact all the parents of multiples in our family were the carriers I suppose hyperovulation could be something passed down to males who become pregnant. You know, that is a very interesting point that has not been researched about male pregnancy–where something such as hyperovulation is… uh… annnd nobody cares,” Glados finished as she realized we were all staring blankly at her. “I’m going to shut up now.”
The family went back to congratulating us while we beamed happily, very excited then we all took a picture to send to Vilkas since he couldn’t make it.
Of course with the news of a baby a lot of planning needed to be done. Including one we hadn’t really thought of until Simba approached us about a week after we had informed my family. “I should move out,” he said, arms folded, not looking particularly put out.
Goose and I exchanged glances. I hadn’t even thought of it. Goose and I starting our family and who knew what the future might bring… of course it would be a bit odd for Simba to continue living here. I didn’t think any of us would mind. I liked Simba well enough but we weren’t exactly best buds. However he hadn’t been living here because of the amazing companionship we gave one another.
Simba shrugged. “I would stay but I can’t imagine it’d be comfortable, the two of you, your baby, and me. But I need to stay to watch you…” He reached up, pushing back his hair. “Mmm. I could stay in the woods…”
“What, during the cold winter? No way!” I exclaimed. “That isn’t right. At all. You can stay. Er, d’you mind babies?”
Simba shrugged. “They’re cute. But this whole living situation is a bit awkward. And I just… don’t want to intrude, y’know? You both are such a cute couple and I want to give you the room. Look, Zaid, you’re strong. When’s the last time you really needed me to help protect you?”
I thought about it and looked down awkwardly. “I don’t know.”
“Yeah, you do. Never. I mean yeah I made things easier but… I think with some additional spells and magic you can stay safe and kick ass,” Simba said, coming closer to me. “And I could live nearby so if something big happens you could just call me.”
Simba shook his head. “Max isn’t here. He left, he has no say in this.” One hand waved towards Goose. “You’ve got magic and spells and you can fight. Just ask Mrs. Penstone for a few potions you could lob at the enemy to add to your protection and I really don’t see what kind of trouble you might have.”
I felt very uncomfortable. No… bodyguard? Last time I had no bodyguard–well, I couldn’t even remember. Before my teenage years? I wasn’t sure when Max started following me around. No bodyguard… that made me feel… just the thought made me feel vulnerable. I then jumped as a hand slid into mine. Goose smiled at me.
“I think Simba is right. You’re tough. With added protection spells and such, I think it’d be fine. Most the golems you can handle on your own. There are potions that can help. I mean, I’m not trying to push you out Simba… I’m sorry if it s-seems like I am.”
Simba smiled, shaking his head. “Nah, I understand. You two are pretty much like newlyweds, with a family on the way. I shouldn’t be here. You two need to enjoy each other and enjoy the little one! Not have an old lion hanging around.” Then he turned to me. “Is the main reason you want me here because you feel like you need to, or because of Max?”
I scowled at those words. “Look, if you wanna go–“
“It’s not that I want to!” Simba protested. “I just think I should! You–you two need your privacy, especially with a little one coming in soon. It’s not a question of what any of us want, it’s a question of what you two need. And you two need this. Come on. Do you honestly need a bodyguard 24/7? Or do you just want one like a security blanket?”
My face reddened at that and my free hand curled into a fist, wanting to punch him. I might have if Goose hadn’t let go of my other hand and reached up to put his arm around my shoulders, pulling me closer. “He’s right.”
That just made me angrier. I yanked away from Goose and stormed to the bedroom. I slammed the door shut and threw myself on the bed like a kid having a temper tantrum but I didn’t care. I pulled my pillow closer and began punching it furiously. I didn’t realize words were coming out of my mouth until a good thirty seconds into my beating the pillow. “Damn Max damn Max damn Max damn Max.” Steady, breathy, with each punch.
Goose came in a moment later, quietly walking over and sitting on the edge of the bed. I stopped talking but continued punching for another ten seconds then put my head in his lap, face still red and my eyes a bit wet. I felt ashamed. How could I be acting like this, missing someone in front of Goose? But he just stroked along my head.
“I don’t care.”
“Don’t you dare lie to me, Zaid Danevbie, or I’ll turn you purple,” he said in the same sweet tone. He bent down and put a kiss on my cheek. “I’m not jealous, if that’s what you’re worried about. He’s one of your best friends and he’s been gone for eleven months.”
“He kissed me,” I mumbled.
Goose shrugged. “That gives me reason to be annoyed at him, if I am annoyed at anyone. And I’m not. I was a little at first but–but not anymore. Your relationship was… c-complicated. I understand that. I accept it. You’re missing him as a friend and not a lover, right?”
“I know. And I am not jealous of that anymore. Like, I’m not jealous when you want to hang out with Noah or miss Clay even though he was a jerk to you–“
“Goose,” I warned, not wanting to get into the Clay debacle.
Goose ducked his head. “Sorry…” He had been angrier at Clay than I ever was. Yeah, I felt anger towards him and still did but he had been my best friend growing up and I missed him a lot. I sometimes messaged him on FriendFace and got messages back but it wasn’t much. One time he posted a link to an article full of anti-supernatural stuff which really infuriated me. But whatever.
I jerked my head up as I felt fingers along my inner thigh. “Want to get your mind off things?” he asked in a sexy tone. I shivered with delight and pulled him in for a kiss, but he pushed me away with a strange look on his face. “Oh, I meant, could we go get some food? I’m starving.”
I hesitated then laughed, planting a kiss on his temple. “Sure thing. Going out for dinner sounds great.” And getting my mind off everything else sounds even greater.
Simba moved out, more protection spells were put up, and Grams supplied me with some potions I could use. I kept them locked up with newspapers around them because they were in semi-delicate glass to break easily. For a week they stayed that way until I changed my mind and asked Grams to fill pump squirt guns with the stuff.
She stared at me then laughed. “Oh Zaid, you would,” she said then filled up a couple high powered squirt guns with the potion that would break down golems, and one with a potion that would induce heavy sleep for anyone else. She used magic to stop up any possible leaks and so when she finished I had a great way to protect myself. A few pumps and I’d have a long reach!
Autumn turned to winter, and in January Lumie used a combination of Christmas and birthday money to take a trip to Mexico. She came back with a tan and hopelessly in love. Our psychic reach hadn’t been able to extend that far and because we weren’t in much phone contact I really had no idea about this until she came back.
“Oh Zaid, he’s wonderful,” she sighed, draping herself over my couch. “His name is Adan and he’s just amazing. We met when I was fumbling with my translation book to find a restaurant and he took me there, and stayed with me for dinner.” She adjusted her glasses and smiled at me, her barriers flicking on and off. I got the hazy impression they did more than just kiss. “Oh Zaid, so what if we had sex?”
“And you barely knew what’s-her-name, the girl you lot your v-card with!” she grumbled and I flinched.
“You’re right, you’re right. I’m being a hypocrite and I apologize. But I guess I’m more of, it’s clear you like him and I’m worried being so close with him will make it harder to… not see him again,” I said.
“That’s not what you were worried about,” she said, sitting up. “And yes, you’re a hypocrite. You’ve knocked up two people now.” I felt like she punched me in the heart and she looked like she wanted to be punched. “Oh. Zaid, I–I’m sorry. I didn’t…” She trailed off, shaking her head. >I am so sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. I’m sorry…< “Besides,” she added out loud to change the subject, “he’s visiting this summer. He’s going to be visiting Bridgeport for a while and promised to stop by Midnight Hollow for a few days. And we’ve been e-mailing since I got back.”
“Since last night?” I offered with a half-hearted grin.
I patted my sister’s arm, assuring her that this fellow would be e-mailing her again. “And when he visits, you better introduce him to all of us,” I said.
“I will. Besides. He’ll be staying with me.”
I rolled my eyes and kept my mouth shut, not liking some stranger staying with my sister because of the possible dangers. But we were twenty-four and she could make her own adult decisions.
As Goose’s body puffed and swelled, he became grumpier and grumpier. Or rather, poutier and poutier. I did my best to help him. I got him food, fetched him things while he rested in bed, drew baths for him, scrubbed his harder-to-reach body parts, massaged his feet and shoulders, did most the cleaning, and woke up constantly in the middle of the night to either get him food or try to help him get back to sleep.
The hardest part was the fact he couldn’t really go see a normal doctor. He wouldn’t explain what the differences were, but every time he needed to be checked on he’d go to his elvish relatives or one would come when I wasn’t home. I grew increasingly nervous as the baby’s due date came closer. What happened in an emergency?
I glared at the fireplace. “Why can’t I go with you?!”
“I’m sorry, darling, but you can’t,” Goose said, pouting more than ever. “I wish you could. I want you there with me.”
“No, because she was mortal and the one giving birth she had a regular doctor,” he said. “I’m sorry… I… I wish things could be different. I’ll try to talk to the Elder, all right? Maybe she’ll let you come with me for the birth.”
But two days later when he came back from a checkup he sadly told me the Elder turned him down. His parents could be there, as his mother had been accepted into their group, but I couldn’t because of being human and especially with all the human/supernatural problems. “Even though I’m in your side? And am practically famous for being for supernatural rights?!” I snapped.
Goose turned pink. “I’m sorry! It’s not my decision and no need to yell at me! I told you if I could have my way you’d be there!” Tears formed along his eyes. “I wish it could be different. I really do.”
I hugged him tightly, feeling like crap. “I know. I’m sorry, Goose. I didn’t mean to snap at you. I’m just as frustrated as you about this. I want to be there when your Zooseling is born.” I rubbed his belly, feeling with flushed excitement at my baby kicking back. Things like this gave me great pleasure. Feeling it kick, Goose talking about it moving around inside him all the time.
I bent down, pressing my ear against Goose’s stomach. “Hey baby,” I said with a big smile. “I’m sorry to you too. I didn’t mean to stress out Daddy Goose.”
“Nah, just a sim-fu expert,” I chuckled, straightening up. “Goose… we will be able to raise this baby together, right? Your–they–I mean… your parents raised you but… they were with the other elves…”
Goose took my hands, squeezing tightly. “They won’t take our baby from us. I know this for certain. She’ll be ours.”
“I know, and they don’t!” Goose drew out. “I don’t know for sure if the baby’s a she, but I just got this feeling. I keep thinking she. Would you be disappointed in a girl?”
“No! Of course not,” I promised. “I’m happy with whatever we get.” He looked at me suspiciously since he knew by my tone I wasn’t being completely honest. “I swear, I’m fine with whatever…”
“You don’t sound it.”
“I don’t sound it because I’m still scared the elves will want our baby,” I told him. “I know you said they won’t but it’s going to worry me. I can’t help it. I barely know anything of your culture, of your father’s culture. What if they do try? What will you do?”
February made a beeline for March and Goose’s due date. The beginning of the second week in March. I felt sweaty, nervous, and dizzy all the time. Every time he made a complaint about pain I felt paranoid and wanted him to call his elvish doctors. Dad told me he had felt pretty much the same whenever Pa got close to his due dates. I couldn’t imagine Dad being the same kind of panicked mess I had been and finally concluded he had lied to me to make me feel better.
Lumie stayed with Goose during the final few days before the birth, so that way if he went into labor while I worked Lumie could tell me immediately. Not that I could do much about it… but it seemed better than having to wait till a phone call. The drawback to this became apparent when on March 8th, a day before his due date, he went into labor. Lumie calmly informed me mentally and I, in the middle of showing a kick, toppled over to the amusement of the kids. I then had to finish the class while silently panicking. Lumie kept me updated, up till the elves showed up and whisked Goose away.
>I’ll stay here,< Lumes promised.
I told my boss after the class and then went home without changing. Lumie hopped up off the couch when I came in the door. “He said he’ll try to call as soon as he can,” she said, taking my hands. “I haven’t called anyone yet because I didn’t know if you wanted…”
“Thanks,” I said, heart pounding. “Oh Watcher, I hope he’s okay. I’m going to be a dad soon.” I went white at that thought.
Lumie clapped my back. “You’ll make a great dad. Go call people. Should I call anyone?”
While I called my dads, Grams, and Noah, Lumie called our sisters and Vilkas. Soon Pa and Dad were at the house with four pizzas. I started to protest, claiming we didn’t need so many, but soon Grams came over and after an hour Noah showed up. The pizza definitely didn’t last too long.
“I can’t believe you can’t be there,” Pa said a bit sadly as he swung his legs. “How long will he have to be there?”
“I’m not sure, it depends on how things go,” I said, pacing back and forth. “With luck they can come back tomorrow evening… if he gives birth today… the baby might not be born till tomorrow…” I chewed the inside of my cheek then checked my cellphone for the millionth time to make sure I didn’t miss the call.
Noah got up, punching my arm. “It’ll go fine, dude. Goose will be fine, the baby will be fine. And pretty soon you’ll be up to your ears in dirty diapers.”
“I understand worrying,” Dad added, “but try to relax. You don’t want to make yourself sick. Which will happen if you keep that up.”
“When did you last eat?” asked Pa, since I hadn’t touched the pizza. “There’s a few slices left. You need to eat. Trust me. You’ll need as much energy as you can get.”
Dingdong!! I looked up, eyes wide. Maybe they sent someone to tell me? I rushed to the door and my face fell. “Oh. It’s you.”
“Sorry–I just hoped maybe one of them had come to talk to me,” I sighed, letting her in. “There’s some pizza left by the way…”
“Save a few slices for Zaid!” Pa piped up so I forced myself to eat a slice to please him then ate two more slices to, er, please him.
“Saya is coming over in the morning,” Glados said. “If you don’t mind…”
“The baby won’t even be here until tomorrow night at the earliest!” I said and she shrugged. “Don’t you guys want to wait till the baby’s at least here?”
“Nah, I’m staying with Pa and Dad tonight,” Glados said cheerfully.
I didn’t feel like kicking them out so I tried to settle down. Pa, Lumie, and Noah played some video games together while Glados and Grams gossiped. Dad just sat in silence mostly watching me. I’d sit for a bit then go back to pacing and checking my phone. And after what felt like hours I got a phone call. From Goose.
“Babe!?” I shrieked, answering the phone.
“Hey,” he said wearily. “Baby’s not here yet… it will be a while, I’m sorry.”
“I’m just so tired I want to sleep and it will be an unknown number of hours!” he cried out. “I want to sleep. I want to be knocked out but they said no! Unless it’s an emergency, I can’t be knocked out. I hate them all! Yes, you,” he said to someone in the room with them. “I just want to be knocked out. I don’t care if elves don’t do that. I’m only half-elf!”
He complained for a while until they took the phone from him. I relayed the very basic information of his labor taking longer than we expected then I went back to pacing. Eventually people left until only Pa and Noah remained, since Noah would be staying the night at my house. I got him into Goose’s old room while Pa shared my bed.
I curled up, hugging Goose’s pillow, listening to Pa’s quiet breathing as he somehow slept. I had no idea how he could sleep. I sure couldn’t…
Only I did. I didn’t know when I drifted off but I woke up shortly after 3am to my phone ringing. I got out of bed, hurriedly answering it. Goose told me the news and I wanted to jump for joy. Instead I asked about a million questions until I realized how tired he sounded. “I love you,” I said. “I can’t wait to see both of you.” Reluctantly, I got off the phone so he could sleep.
“Zaid?” Pa yawned, getting out of bed. “Was that Goose?”