The Farscape Lounge - RPG Snippets: Beyond The Wormhole
5 Solar Days...
"Hold still," Zeta instructed as Arrin squirmed on the chair in what could now pass for their living room, five days work on the house and it was already taking shape. Zeta and Darien had layed waste to all of the weeds and Arrin had the windows fixed and the doors on, now it was just the roof to go and that would be a long job.
Furniture had been leant to them by various villagers, knowing it was only a temporary loan and in return they had cooked a huge meal for everyone, well, more a barbeque in their now weed free and quite beautiful garden. The entire village had come and they had begun making new friends.
One woman in particular had made Zeta laugh so hard she thought she might have gone into labour.
A woman who lived just down the gravel path from them, she already had five children and was four months pregnant again, her attitude toward it and her husband had been hysterical to Zeta. Her husband had gotten on very well with Arrin and the pair had made plans to work on the roof together. Meanwhile their children had tried their level best to play with Darien, who still wasnt coming outside.
Mai, the woman, had told Zeta how she felt like she had been constantly pregnant for as long as she could remember. It didnt seem to matter what they tried to do to not get pregnant, she just seemed to.
Zeta's only advice was celibacy, to which Mai had thrown a glance at her husband Jonus and given a firm shake of her head.
They had been the last to leave from the party, Mai promising Zeta to come up tomorrow and give her some maternity clothes as apparently she had heaps. On her way out of the door she had glanced back at Zeta and dryly commented, "perhaps I can get knocked up again on the way home."
Zeta was still giggling now, as she tried to trim Arrin's stubble for him without getting rid of it completely.
He had just put Darien to bed, and she had pounced on him with scissors as he had come back down the stairs.
"So, you and Jonus working on the roof tomorrow?" she asked quietly, getting the stubble even.
"Looks like it," he smiled, holding perfectly still, "hes managed to find tiles that pretty much match the existing ones."
"Nice," she nodded, trimming the final bit and then standing back to admire her handywork, "there," she grinned, "all done. Very cute."
"I was hoping for rugged and manly," he blinked.
"That too," she chuckled.
"C'mere," he murmured, grasping her behind firmly in his hands and tugging her into his lap, "I suppose I should pay you for your services now."
"I'm not sure you can afford my prices." She purred, curling her arms around his neck.
"I'll speak to my bank," he whispered kissing her neck and then tugging her free of her top.
"No, i need the payment in advance," she wagged a finger in front of him. With her other hand she undid his trouser fastner, drawing him out. Waking him up.
"You drive a.... hard.... bargain," he spoke through gritted teeth.
"I can see that," she kissed him and his hands went to her bare thighs, running up and under her skirt to her underwear which in a deft move, he ripped from her, "I'll have to add that to the bill mister," she nipped at his lip.
"Please do so," he took her rear firmly in his hands and raised her up, she still had him in hand, stroking him, she guided him to her, finding the entrance to her warmth she aided his journey inside, lowering herself down.
"Frell," he gasped once she was fully astride him, nestled deep inside her, "you have no idea how good that feels."
"Its not supposed to feel good," she murmured, kissing him briefly, "its supposed to be my payment... so get to it."
"As you wish," he chuckled. They sank into a kiss. Christening the living room.
Arrin opened the door of the room at the end of the house, on the top floor. As he entered, Darien leapt to his feet and came to attention, staring straight ahead at the wall opposite. Arrin paused; his son's response to his arrival still caught him by surprise. Every time he hoped that Darien had realised he did not have to react that way, and almost every time he still came to attention.
"I said you didn't have to do that," Arrin reminded him softly.
"Yes si- father." Darien managed to stop himself from saying 'sir' but he still stayed as he was. Arrin looked around. The room was tidy, almost spotless, although admittedly there was not much in it. But what little there was, mostly clothing donated by people in the village, was carefully arranged and ordered.
Arrin sat himself down on the small chair and nodded to his son, who stiffly sat himself down on the edge of the bed. He was only a little boy... but he held himself so rigidly. All the signs of Peacekeeper training.
"This must still be very strange for you," Arrin began tentatively.
"Yes." The reply was short and to the point.
~Some parents~ Arrin thought ~must dream of having a child as disciplined as this. They're fools~
"I am not returning to my unit, am I?" Darien asked, the same question he had asked when they had first lifted off from the training base in their stolen Marauder.
"No," Arrin conceded. "You'll be with us, with me and Zeta. We'll look after you, we're... your family."
"Here?" the lad asked, the expression on his face speaking volumes about what he thought of the place.
"Not always," Arrin replied. "We may be leaving here soon. Then we'll go somewhere else, to a Leviathan."
"I... don't know." Arrin frowned. There was something in Darien's tone he did not like the sound of. "Why?"
"I do not like it here. It is... too open. Too indefin- indefensible." The way Darien looked towards the window suggested something else bothered
him, but Arrin was not sure what.
"Are you going to come out of your room today?" Arrin asked gently. "I, er, found this great spot down by the stream, there's this tree-"
"Not today." The same reply his son had given him every day for a weeken. There *was* something else... something about going outside. Arrin decided to leave it for now. "And she is not family," the boy finished.
That statement made Arrin pause for thought.
"She is in every way that matters," he tried to explain. "That life we took you from, it wasn't supposed to be that way for you. Your life was supposed to be home, happiness, father... Mother..." He shook his head. "Not orders and regulations and service to the Peacekeepers." Arrin gazed intently at his son. "Zeta is a good person," he continued. "She worries about you, wants you to be happy, just like I do. I want us all to be a family, because you are my son and I love you, and because I love Zeta and we're having a baby. I want us to be happy together."
Darien sat still for a time, thinking. He did a lot of thinking, maybe too much for a boy his age. He had yet to break free of the mindset forced upon him by his upbringing, and it would take time to free him of it.
"I will try." That simple statement gave Arrin hope for the future.
"You just need to get to know her," Arrin told him. "I know she can be cranky at times, but she's pregnant, it does that to her. She's... really great, actually." Arrin smiled. "And she has a daughter of her own already. She tries very hard to be a good mother, to her daughter and to your sister, even though she isn't with us yet. And she wants to be there for you too. I know," he interrupted Darien's interruption, holding up his hand, "she isn't your mother, but she cares for you like she was. Nothing else matters."
Darien seemed to be about to say something but paused. Arrin waited for him to speak.
"What was my mother like?" Darien asked, his voice suddenly very quiet. For such a young lad he often seemed so grown up. Arrin stood and went to sit by his son on the bed, who if anything became more stiff, especially when he put his hand on the boy's shoulder.
"I'll tell you about her," Arrin told him softly. "She was a farmer, though she hadn't always been one. She had lots of friends and was respected. On the day I met her she was trying to solve a dispute..."
The tale went on for a long time.
Arrin watched as Darien slowly approached the clearing. From his vantage point ahead of the boy he could see his son's face, the look of concentration on it, as he got closer to the open space. His eyes, so like those of his mother, darted back and forth from the canopy of leaves above to the stark blue sky ahead, just visible through the branches.
Darien had never seen the sky before they had come here. All his life had been spent on a Carrier, or in the training centre. He was too young to have been actually allowed outside; he had only ever been in terrain simulators, the great ceiling arching high overhead, setting a limit on the world above. The limitless expanse of a natural sky scared him, almost as much as the black abyss of space did.
He had refused to come out of the house for more than a weeken, until a walkway had been constructed from the side door to the trees alongside it. It was his curiosity that had dragged him out of that shelter, Arrin knew, that and the Peacekeeper-imposed drive to overcome personal weakness. He had taken the sky as a challenge.
The little boy took a few more steps forwards... The wind blew suddenly, a gust making the trees hiss and Darien's hair whip around his head. He set his face into an expression of stubbornness that Arrin was surprised to recognise, having seen it in the mirror so many times himself. It overwhelmed him to see, to know, that even though he had been taken from him, Darien still showed the marks of being his son.
~Go on!~ Arrin silently urged him ~Just a few more steps...~
Those steps and more were taken hurriedly and finally Darien stood in the centre of the clearing, open sky above him for more than five motras in each direction. He looked up and stared at the tattered clouds skitting far overhead, racing across the blue sky and across the sun. Suddenly the sun was revealed in all it's glowing glory, bathing the clearing in warm light.
He had beaten the sky.
Zeta drew in a long calming breath and brought her hands before her in what could have been a prayer position. Her eyes drifted shut and for a microt or two she let the surroundings engulf her. The sounds, the gentle breeze coming off of the nearby lake, making her hair flutter around her face. The smells on the flowers and grass, the water. The house near by where Arrin worked with wood and she could smell the chippings in the air.
Somewhere a herd animal called to its mate.
Another set of long, deep breaths and she focused into herself. Into the rhythm of her own heart and breathing. The sensations inside her body, the movements of her tiny baby, growing every day and kicking. Her bump was expanding quickly, old clothes properly discarded now for new, more comfortable flannel ones. Things she could relax in.
Another breath, and she began to move. Slowly, extending one hand forward, with a step forward. Each movement coincided with an exhale or inhale. She hadn't done this in a while, but in an effort to bring her own anxiety levels down she had remembered all Lilani had taught her about energy flow within the body, and movements and stances that would best carry energy around the body.
Sounded silly, but it worked. And it was a great way to stay flexible, especially while pregnant. Though soon she supposed, she would grow too large to be able to do it.
Almost an arn later, she came to a halt. Re-opening her eyes and pulling in a long, deep breath. She felt energized.
The baby kicked.
Her hand went to her bump and she turned from the field she stood in and headed back toward the house, where she noticed Arrin had stopped working... and started staring. At her.
"Oi!" she shouted at him with a grin plastered over her face as she made her way to the gate, "get back to work."
"Well I would but...." he put down whatever he was working with and jogged over, "I have this problem."
"What's that?" she asked as his hands went to her swollen belly.
"I need to kiss you."
"Soppy," she chuckled.
Their kiss was interrupted... by Darien.
"I'm hungry!" he called from the window.
Zeta blinked and looked into Arrin's eyes, "so are we," she pouted.
"Who are you?"
Darien turned from his perch on the big rock to see two young boys, roughly his age, standing just a short distance away. They squinted up at him, shading their eyes against the sun. He returned to looking out over the valley, uninterested. It was a strange sight, to him at least; all that grass, the trees, growing there untended. Wild. In the distance, their house. With nothing above it all but the sky, going on forever, tiny specks of birds flitting across the blue expanse.
It was... beautiful.
"I said," one of the boys asked again, nearer, his voice rougher, "who are you?" Darien turned again to see the other had clambered halfway up the rock.
"Who are you?" he asked back curtly.
"Iner," came the reply. The boy gestured at his one companion, continuing to cling on one-handed. "That's Areth."
"I am... Darien." He still found the name odd to say, to really use it with people. It was not the same as answering to it; telling people that was his name really made it who he was, and he was still not entirely comfortable with that yet.
"Can we come up there too?" Areth called up. "It's our place after all. We found it first."
Darien shrugged and moved aside a little to make room. Normally he would have wanted to be alone, but for some reason they intrigued him. The two climbed up and joined him.
"So where do you live then?" Iner asked, not really sounding all that interested. He was more interested in the flock of birds that dived overhead.
"There," Darien replied, pointing at their house. He could just make out the tiny figure of his father working on the roof.
"What?" Iner gaped at him. "You're one of the space people!"
"You came from one of those gate things?" Areth sounded even more surprised that his friend. "From another world? What's it like out there?"
Darien shrugged, secretly pleased to be so famous. "Not seen a lot of it. This is the only other place I've been to."
"Tell us what you've seen!" Iner insisted. "We've only ever been here."
Darien looked at their expectant faces and smiled.
"Okay," he agreed, and began his tale.
Zeta narrowed her eyes and concentrated hard on the task before her. It should have been a simple thing but the headache she had was getting to her and making everything ten times worse. She felt bloated and uncomfortable. Things with the pregnancy were certainly moving along, the bump now very present, making it hard to fit into clothes and harder to sleep.
She bit on her lip trying to put the thread through the needle so as she could fix up a piece of clothing Darien had ripped outside.
She just couldn't get it to work.
"Frell!" she exclaimed suddenly, dropping the fiddly equipment and pushing the entire thing away in frustration, she buried her head in her hands and tried not to cry.
The door creaked and footsteps reached her. "Everything okay?"
"No!" she snapped suddenly, looking up from her hands.
Arrin smiled cautiously at her and noticed what she was doing. "Oh, you didn't have to do that."
"Moot point, I cant do it anyway!" she grumbled, folding her arms. They rested upon the slope of her ever swelling abdomen quite comfortably.
"Not feeling so good?" he asked quietly.
"No... I hate everything," she scowled.
"Because I ache all over, my head hurts, my feet hurt, I couldn't sleep last night, I'm hungry, frustrated, fat... blah. Don't look at me." She wiped away a stray tear. "I don't think I can take another three months of this," she sniffed, her hands moving so she was holding her belly, "I cant get any bigger! I don't stretch that far! and I'm tired!"
"Awwww," he gently rubbed her thigh for want of anything better to do.
"It's not fair, why do I have to do this. The guys should get pregnant now and then... be like, a 50 50 chance of who gets to carry the baby... you don't have to do anything! All you did was put it in me and that was fun for you!"
She knew she was being irrational. She didn't care. She felt horrible.
Arrin knew it must be really bad for her just now for Zeta to be complaining. Most of the time she was fine, she griped a bit but a lot less than most. The frustration must really have been building.
"And I suppose *you* had no fun at all?" he asked her archly, trying to lighten the mood, but he quickly saw the dangerous glint in Zeta's eye. "I'm sorry," he told her quietly, crouching down in front of the chair, "I know it's not easy," he continued, "and I know it's no fun at all right now." He took her hands in his and squeezed a little. "But that's only because our daughter is so eager to meet us." He ventured a brief smile. "Just remember that every single microt of the day and night I worry about the two of you, so I don't get off that lightly. I'm a bundle of nerves."
"Better a bundle than a fat lump," Zeta grumbled sulkily, pulling her hands away.
"Maybe you are a fat lump," Arrin told her gently, "but you're the fat lump that I love no matter how much you complain or ache or swell or leak." He looked into those eyes he loved to get lost in. "And you're doing really great. Most of the time it's fine, and you know I'm here for you whenever you need me... As I keep telling you, you're not alone in this."
Getting to his feet and reached out his hands to her and beckoned her towards him. "Come on," he suggested, "enough work for today. You need some rest and more of that pampering you love so much. Take the weight off your shoulders."
A small smile flickered over her lips and she reached out her hands to his, gently taking them he aided her to her feet. She groaned as she got up, and allowed him to pull her into a hug. "Sorry," she mumbled against his chest, getting as close as her bump would allow, "just been a long day."
"I know," he said quietly, kissing the top of her head, "I suggest a footrub and a belly massage."
"I like those," she nodded meekly, still a little teary.
Zeta and Mai were heading back from a shopping excursion into the nearby town, buying mainly baby clothes for both of their soon to be new arrivals. Both pregnant woman walked with bags in one hand, and a cake in the other, discussing their cravings.
"Fruit and salt, its all i've wanted. Now and then a huge piece of fried meat but I just cant seem to get enough fruit in me, its crazy," Zeta chuckled, chomping down on her bun.
"Fruit and salt isnt that bad, I tell you with my third all I ever wanted to eat was spices, all day every day, peppers, anything, hot as I could get it. My husband wouldnt come near me," she laughed, "this time i've mostly been after sweets, anything with sugar... yum," she rubbed her heavily rounded tummy and bit into her own bun.
They turned the corner in the gravel road and their houses came into view. Mai's closest, and further away Zeta and Arrins. He was still working on the roof of the house, Jonus had begun helping out with it.
"I think the boys are slacking," Zeta nudged Mai with her elbow, "I dont see them on the roof."
"Then it is our duty to spoil their fun," Mai winked.
"This is the best part of working," Jonus was explaining to Arrin. He handed him a tall glass of the local beer and sat back on the lounger with a pleased sigh. "The bit where you *don't* work."
"I think you've got something there," Arrin agreed, sipping on the beer. "And it's better cooled, that's for sure."
They had been working for arns in the hot sun up on the roof, putting down new tiles and replacing the occasional beam. Dressed in just shorts both men had developed a good tan pretty much all over, and the sun had done a good job of bleaching Arrin's hair lighter. But it was thirsty work, and fortunately Jonus had come prepared.
Jonus had proved to be a useful person to know, as well as a good friend. They talked about a lot of things as they worked, about their lives and, it had to be said, their partners. Nothing lewd or private, just vocalising their appreciation of the women at the centre of their lives. Otherwise it was all talk about Jonus and Mai's children, or tips of the trade, or Arrin's life as a soldier, something Jonus could never quite understand. Violence just was not in his nature.
"Uh oh," Jonus said, nudging Arrin's elbow so he almost spilt his drink. "The ladies are back." Arrin say up and looked; they were indeed, coming into view around the edge of the trees that stood at the corner of the path to their house. Predictably, both were carrying bags of shopping and food. Arrin grinned at the sight of Zeta, grown wonderfully large, devouring a cake. Out the corner of his eye he saw Jonus grinning much the same way at Mai, who was similarly occupied with some sweet something. The two men chuckled.
"We'd better finish these before they take them away from us," Arrin suggested, holding up his glass. Jonus nodded and they endeavoured to drink their beers as fast as they could.
They reached the gate to the little house and Zeta immediate wagged her finger at Arrin, a grin on her face, "now boys, no slacking on the job."
"And they think theyve got it hard," Mai rolled her eyes, "you try carrying a great lump inside you for six months, now *thats* hard work."
"And we cant even have beers," Zeta chuckled, flopping down on the lounger beside Arrin, "I cant wait, I could so get drunk right now," she ruffled Arrin's hair.
"Tell me about it," Mai groaned as she sat down next to Jonus, "i've been pregnant so long i've forgotten what alcohol tastes like," she nudged Jonus with her elbow, "maybe you should see about that op the doctors suggested," she giggled.
"Bah," said Arrin, "I don't need beer to feel great." He wrapped his arms around Zeta, which was not as easy as it used to be, and kissed her on the cheek. "Not when I've got you, my sweet." He grinned.
"Oh yeah," Jonus nodded vigorously, "what he said, absolutely," he looked at Mai, "no need for beer around here. And we don't need the doctors interfering, neither, I'd just have to keep away from you to solve that problem." He raised his eyebrows at her as he slid a hand along her thigh. "Think that'd work?"
"Not even remotely," Mai smiled at him, taking his hand then glancing to Zeta, "and on that note I think i'm going to steal my husband away from you two for an arn or so, punish him for his slacking off."
"An arn or two?" Jonus chuckled, "what am I? a slave"
"yes," Mai answered slyly, dragging him to his feet and winking at Zeta.
"Poor man," Arrin commented as Mai took her husband away, "I pity him, I really do." He grinned, then sighed contentedly as he stroked Zeta's belly. "So have the two of you brought back anything interesting?" He gently kissed her neck. "Besides yourself, that is," he said softly. The baby kicked. "Yeah, you too," he added, addressing her abdomen.
The sun was sinking below the horizon as they lay themselves back on the grassy crest of the hill overlooking the house. It stained the sky rose and orange, and highlighted the dappled clouds.
Zeta groaned with satisfaction as she took the weight off her feet. She was almost four months pregnant and blooming, with a healthy glow some would die for; of course, *she* would say she was fat and sweaty, with no bladder worth speaking of and the gait and... other bits... of a bloated bovine. Arrin knew differently.
She was so beautiful it hurt to be away from her for even a few microts.
"What?" she asked, interrupting his thoughts. She had a quizzical smile on her lips, one hand unconsciously rubbing her swollen belly.
"Oh," he said off-handedly, "you know, the usual. Sunset, good day's work, the house is finished, you're gorgeous." Zeta giggled.
"Silly," she told him, grinning. "But," she admitted, "it'll be nice to have a roof that doesn't drip anywhere." She hooked her arm through his and lay her head on his shoulder. "Like a real home."
"It won't be for long if Lorien's right," Arrin reminded her.
"I know," she agreed glumly. "But it's so nice here... It's ideal."
"Except we're not here by choice. Better to be somewhere we choose to be."
"I've learned to accept what we've been given, whether we asked for it or not. But I want to return to Moya for the birth, for Kyra..." Zeta turned her head to look him in the eye. "I'm home whenever I'm with you anyway. And Darien. And soon..." She smiled and drew his hand towards the bump, now like a mountain on her small frame.
Arrin leant in towards her and they kissed, the soft light of the sunset gently warming them.
"I could stay here forever," he told her quietly when they drew apart, faces a hair's breadth apart, "with you."
They lay back on the grass and listened to the faint sound of laughter... Darien and his friend were at play.
All was right with their world.
Arrin grinned as he climbed into the bed; Zeta was laying on her back and the mound of her swelled belly under the blankets made her look like she was a small hill on an otherwise flat landscape.
"What's the joke?" she asked him, a slight edge to her voice.
"Nothing, my little hillock," he told her, snuggling in under the covers beside her and reaching out with one hand to touch her abdomen while the other arm snaked under her shoulders, pulling her slightly towards him.
"Are you trying to be funny?" His answer was to kiss her; not a very good answer to the question, but certainly a more satisfying one.
"Mmmmm," she purred once their lips came apart, "what brought that on? Not that I'm complaining..."
"Just think of it as a reward for putting up with the day's trials," Arrin told her.
"Ooh, thanks." The day had been hard. Even though the house was supposedly finished, there were still so many little things to do, none of which were helped by Darien's demolition of one of the fences while showing off his athleticism. The lad had come out of it unscathed, which was lucky, but they had sent him off to stay with his friend for the night to get him out from underfoot for a while, so they could work undisturbed.
"I still can't believe there's so much to do," Zeta complained, pulling his arms more tightly around her. One hand still rested on the top of the bump, lightly stroking the skin there.
"It'll take months to get all the kinks out," Arrin told her, "and the job might never be done. This is an old place." He gently began to kiss the side of her neck. Zeta turned a little, moving to lay slightly on one side, allowing him to place more kisses on the back of her neck and the top of her spine. One of her hands reached back and around to pull the two of them even more closer together.
"Ssshh shh," she whispered, making him pause. "Listen..." she commanded. He cocked his head and did as he was bid.
"I don't hear anything," he replied softly in her ear before kissing the lobe.
"Exactly," she said, smiling happily. "No dripping, no creaking door, and no patter of feet running around the house late at night. Just us."
"Mmmhmmmm," Arrin agreed wordlessly. The hand that been gently stroking her thigh slid up a little and around until it was somewhere that made Zeta gasp suddenly, making her arch her back.
"Careful," she murmured, "I am pregnant you know." Nestled behind her, Arrin grinned in the semi-darkness.
"You know," he told her, "I've noticed that. And that's never bothered you before." He altered his position slightly, manoeuvring himself into place, while she did likewise.
"That's true," she giggled. "I just don't always like to be caught by surprise- Ooooh..." His roaming hand had moved on to helping support her leg as she lifted it to accommodate their joining. That part of the operation complete, they began to slowly move together, gently and agonisingly slow. That lasted for only as long as they could restrain themselves, eventually giving themselves over to passion, their frenzy always tempered by the need to be careful of Zeta's pregnancy.
Eventually they were spent, for the time being at least, and lay wrapped in each others' arms.
"I should have guessed you had an ulterior motive for Darien staying the night at Areth's," Zeta muttered into Arrin's chest.
"It was so ulterior I hadn't realised it till just now," he admitted with a grin. "If I'd thought about it earlier we might have been doing it halfway up the stairs or in the garden next to the fence."
"There's always the morning," Zeta replied cheekily. He chuckled, holding her close and marvelling at the feel of her body against him, the swell of her belly and the occasional movement from it.
A perfect moment.
Zeta lay back in the warm, clear water and let out a long satisfied sigh. It had been a long day, travelling to the near by village to stock up on supplies and more work with Darien who still swung from mood to mood, poor kid.
She was beginning to feel the pressure of this pregnancy. Slowing her down.
She closed her eyes and drifted into herself, her hand going to the bump that stuck out above the water line of the bath. Her fingertips traced lines over it and she felt the child within stir in response. A movement or two, a slight kick. She took in every sensation, every tiny action.
She smiled, the weight was a good one to bear, to feel this life inside of her, reacting to its surroundings already. When Zeta hummed, she swore it would soothe the baby, frantic kicking sessions would end and they could both be calm.
The water caressed aching muscles. This was the one thing Moya lacked... a bath in every chamber. Here she took one every afternoon, pure indulgence.
Just under two months until the birth. She couldn't quite believe she could get bigger than she was, and grimaced a little at the thought of being that heavy.
But they'd make it. She just hoped the wormhole predictions from this planet were right, and that they could get back to Moya in time.
She placed her hands flat upon her belly and immediately a kick in reaction. She opened her eyes and giggle. "Behave," she sat up and spoke to her bump. There was a knock at the door, and then it slowly opened. Arrin entered, carrying warm towels she had requested. "Enjoying your bath?" he grinned.
"We're having a great time," she nodded, "though she's getting a little feisty."
Arrin raised an eyebrow and crouched down beside the tub, reaching a hand over and gently placing it between hers. He only had to wait a microt or two for the kick in response to this new pressure upon her home. They shared a proud smile.
"Wash my back?" Zeta asked eventually.
"Of course." Arrin got to his feet and took a sponge, moving behind the tub. She leant slowly forward, exhaling as she did, her arms practically hugging her bump as she had nowhere else for them to go. A downside to getting large, other body parts began to get in the way and leaning became.. awkward.
"Darien in bed?" she murmured blissfully.
"Think he'll wake up?"
"I doubt it."
"Think we could..." she tilted her head back and grinned wickedly.
Arrin's jaw dropped in mock shock, "you're a pregnant woman."
"Yes... and I have a craving..." she giggled.
"How can I argue with that?"
"Yey," she grinned.
Zeta crept as quietly down the stairs as she was able, though the weight of her five month pregnant belly didn't allow her to be very dainty. Every time wood creaked she would stop, one hand braced against the wall and the other holding her heavy abdomen as if it would help the silence.
It was only a few days until that wormhole was supposed to re-open, by then she would be entering her sixth and final month.
She wondered if it would.
Her foot finally found the stone floor that signified the end of the stairs.
With a grin on her face and both hands on her belly she tiptoed toward the kitchen area. She had the most incredible hunger and the baby was kicking up a storm making it impossible to sleep. Also making it impossible on her bladder, she had needed to pee... again... and decided there was no point, the baby wouldn't settle down until it had been fed.
She was surprised Arrin ever got any sleep either, but he seemed to.
She started in the cupboards, dragging out various crackers and dry foods, taking handfuls of things and munching on them, but nothing ever quite satisfied the craving. Sweet, salty, sharp, sour... she went through them all.
Then she moved to the cold storage. Fruit juice. The cups were across the room. Frell it, she opened the carton and drank straight from it.
More crackers, a handful of dried fruit. She peered into the cold store and found some slices of meat. She placed them upon pieces of crusty bread and sprinkled the dried fruit on top of it, then some kind of sauce Arrin had made up the night before to go with fish.
She sat down with her creation right in front of the fridge on the floor, her legs stretched out before her and her belly becoming a table for the plate she had, it was nice in front of the cold store, did wonders for her hot flushes. She took a big bite of her strange sandwich. Bliss. It was gone in a microt. She dragged out more dishes from the cold store, more meat which she ate dipped into a honey like substance. Pickles were great wrapped in bread. More juice, some water. Raw vegetables she liked to dip in Arrin's sauce.
She found the cream. The cream went on everything... a mixture upon her plate of pickles and meat and dry fruit and cheese.
The baby kicked and the plate almost went flying, making her yelp in surprise as she caught it.
Once it was back and balanced... she finished off that plate full and peered at the open cartons and boxes that surrounded her on the floor. More crackers and pickles.
She was so hungry.
A creak from the stairs made her stop in her mid mouthful.
A figure came into the light of the fridge... Darien. He looked around at the chaos strewn around Zeta on the floor and frowned.
"What are you doing?" he asked. He had seen Zeta eat strange things before, but he had never seen such a binge.
"Your sister was hungry," Zeta explained, smiling up at the young lad. "So I went for food. Do you want some?" she asked, gesturing at the food laid out around her. "You can have some if you like."
"What about my father?"
"He's not invited," she grinned. "Come on, sit down beside me and take your pick." She patted the floorboards next to her and Darien complied, tip-toeing around the minefield of morsels until he got alongside her and knelt down. As he did, the plate still on Zeta's belly jumped as the baby kicked again and she had to move fast to grab it.
"Why did it do that?" Darien asked, a slice of bread clasped firmly in his hand.
"Your sister is wide awake when she should be fast asleep," Zeta told him, a look of remonstration on her face, "like others I could mention." The grin that followed showed she was not serious. She put the plate to one side.
"Give me your hand," she told him, reaching out towards him. He tentatively did so, and she put his hand on her belly. She gently rubbed his hand along the curve until the baby responded with healthy kicking like a drum roll. He jumped. "She really wants to come out and meet us," Zeta said, "but she's going to have to wait a little while. Until then-"
"Until then we should all get some rest," Arrin interrupted. He had come down after Darien, who he had heard creep down the stairs, having already been disturbed by Zeta leaving.
"I'm hungry," Darien announced, calling back over his shoulder as she rummaged through the remains of what was still in the fridge.
"Me too," Zeta added, holding up a pickle daubed with cream. "You want anything?" His nose wrinkled in disgust at the sight of the strange combination.
"Not that," he told her, "you can keep that for yourself." He looked at the torn open drink carton, and crouched down to pick it up. He shook it; it was about half full. "Thirsty?" he raised a questioning eyebrow. She grinned in reply and crunched on the pickle. Arrin went over to the other side of the room and fetched a cup, pouring some of the juice into it. "Darien," he called to his son, who turned round to face him. "Here you go." He handed him the cup and took a mouthful from the carton himself. Darien and turned back to the fridge; Arrin winked at Zeta and settled himself down next to her.
"Still hungry?" he asked her, and kissed her on the cheek.
"Yeah," Zeta breathed, "she needs all the energy to get out of little old me and make our lives a misery." Arrin grinned and stroked the swell of her abdomen, leaning in for another kiss.
"Father?" Darien interrupted, holding a plate of food almost right in their faces. "Do you want some of this?"
"Yeah, thanks Darien," he told his son, but his eyes were on Zeta. "I would like some of that." She smiled a little and he reached past her to lift some slices of meat off the offered plate. "Sit down, son, and let's tuck in."
It was late, very late. The house was dark and silent, with the gentle hissing of the wind in the trees the only sound.
Zeta had finally got to sleep about a quarter arn ago, but Arrin had remained awake. It had been a very hard day for her, with aches and pains her constant companion. And every time she just got relaxed it seemed like she had to get back up again at the insistence of her compressed bladder. Coupled with their daughter's constant fidgeting it was not easy for her to get to sleep.
Once she did, though, she slept the sleep of the dead, completely out of it. Which, for once, gave Arrin a rare opportunity.
Zeta lay on her side on the bed, half curled up, allowing Arrin to position himself so his head lay right next to her swollen belly. One hand lay gently on the curved dome of her abdomen, so he could feel the movements of the child within.
In a way, it allowed Arrin to have a private moment with their unborn daughter. It was not really just the two of them, of course, but it felt like it.
"You're going to be so beautiful," he whispered to the bump. "You'll make the both of us so proud." ~What will she want to be?~ he wondered, asking the age-old questions all parents ask. ~What things will she do in her life?~ Those were the only questions he cared about now; with all their troubles behind them he was looking forward to more domesticated bliss, however much it might be disturbed by the demands of the baby.
He lay his cheek against Zeta's belly and was rewarded with a kick in the ear. He chuckled soundlessly. ~She'll not take any dren from anyone if that's anything to go by~ He drew back a little. ~Like her mother~ he nodded to himself.
For almost ten microns Arrin spoke to the bump in a whisper, talking of his hopes and dreams for the future to someone who could not understand him let alone hear him. How they would find that house by the mountains Zeta had dreamed of and live there; how she would grow up clever and pretty and find her own way in the world; how Kyra and Darien would love her as much as he and Zeta did.
He was eventually interrupted by Zeta, who moved slightly and stretched out a little, both hands unconsciously coming round to hold her abdomen. So he carefully moved so as not to wake her and gently put his arms around her, holding her tightly. Zeta gave a little moan as she settled into his embrace, and soon he too was asleep.