Author: Nancy Brown PM
PostDWTB. Every species deals with pregnancy differently.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 558 - Reviews: 6 - Published: 05-23-02 - Status: Complete - id: 793518
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Kemper and Co. own everything. Thanks to Nicole for the quick read-through. Inspired by and in fact written while being stuck at home from work because of my own impending arrival.
The feet were the worst. Swelling during the course of the day like meats slowly plumping over a fire, they stretched at the protesting skin. A thumbprint, made idly in doughy flesh, faded gradually and reluctantly. Thirty microts for this one. Propping them up seemed to be working; the last thumbprint had lingered over one hundred microts.
Things could be worse.
Every species reacted differently to the surge of hormones wracking a pregnant body; even within species, symptoms could range wildly. Leviathans suffered from massive power fluctuations. Nebari apparently spent the fifteen months of the gestation cycle vomiting profusely and growling. Sebaceans were luckier, suffering few obvious physical symptoms, even as their emotions wreaked havoc on their mental well-being. As for humans ...
John had said once, a long time ago, something about pikels and Isa's Cream, but John had always said such strange things.
The fire crackled. Another smallish log lay dying in its heart, making the hot journey from not-quite-living vegetative matter into crumbling ash. The flickering light was just enough to see around the small encampment, sufficient for one, and one-who-was-not-yet. There were two blankets, unrolled for the night, and there were the meager remaining food stores, one crate of which provided a serviceable foot rest.
Monens had yet to pass before the child arrived, if it survived to birth. This camp would be long gone, and the next, and the next. There would need to be shelter, and more warmth than a simple fire, and friends.
No. Probably not friends.
This child would be born far from the little family he or she might have known aboard Moya, and it could not be helped. Instinct, the same that drove some species back to the place of their own birth, directed others to seek the high places, the far places, where none could harm their offspring. Logic could dictate safety all it wanted, could point out that the best, maybe only hope for a half-breed infant would be with people who would understand that love saw no species, but instinct was louder, and matched with pride, could drown out logic every time. It had this time.
What did instinct have to say when one parent was dead, and the other resembled more a walking corpse than a caregiver? Pride was a poor pillow when a small so-called miracle decided to twist and squirm and poke in the dead of night. And neither helped with the swollen feet.
Ten microts now; almost back to normal for another night. Tomorrow could sort itself out. One common thread through every species: gestation soon equaled exhaustion, and pain, and then vulnerability in a permanent attachment to a creature too small to care for itself, wearing the features of someone beloved.
Perhaps that was why the urge to procreate hammered every living thing so hard --- as long as there was a child with that face, even one gone forever could never truly die.
He wondered if the notion would have made Zhaan smile.